From a Village to a Region

From a Village to a Region
July 2023
Written by Megan Smalley

Freedom Fellowships hopes to join a Northeast Ohio Consortium with several other local churches to participate in India Gospel League’s Adopt a Region program.

Ten years ago, Freedom Fellowships began to support India Gospel League’s Adopt a Village Program to help plant churches in unreached villages of India. To date, we have completed two Adopt a Village programs, supporting churches in the Indian villages of Sariki and Rajupetta. We are currently halfway through funding the Indian village of Rajakatti, with goals to fully support that village by May 2024.

With this program wrapping up, Freedom Fellowships wants to look ahead: how can we support God’s work in India moving forward?

During the Fiscal Support Team retreat earlier this year, Neil Brooks announced that Freedom Fellowships wants to consider thinking bigger by adopting not just a village but an entire region in India through the India Gospel League (IGL) Adopt a Region program.

“We’d love to finish the current Adopt a Village program and begin Adopt a Region,” Neil said. “IGL has proposed the region of Bharuch, which is in the state of Gujarat, India. Bharuch has a population of 1.5 million and is only 0.61% Christian by the last census. IGL is proposing planting 310 churches in this region over a period of five years, along with building five life centers.”

In early May, IGL invited people from Freedom Fellowships and other local churches to come to a meeting at Christ Community Chapel in Hudson to learn more about Adopt a Region.

Becky Stanley, IGL’s director of childcare and rural development, said IGL currently has a goal called “Achieve 2040,” with a hope of planting a church in every village in India by 2040. IGL has planted about 100,000 churches in Indian villages to date, but there are more than 600,000 villages in India overall. She said more than 300,000 villages “have yet to receive their first encounter with Jesus Christ,” and that IGL is hopeful that God can and will make that goal possible in less than 20 years.

But part of reaching that goal requires prayer and support. Becky shared that IGL has prayerfully selected a region in India where it thinks a Northeast Ohio Consortium could help support in order to plant more than 300 churches in five years.

“IGL strategically looks and is sensitive to where God is moving among unreached people groups to how they will respond to the gospel,” Becky said. “We go to places where God is moving. We picked a region for you where we experience God moving in that region. We are working with 30 church planters in that area. Our hope and goal over five years is to plant over 300 churches in that region. The Adopt a Region strategy is a strategy for saturation church planting in an unreached area.”

Matt Garrett, regional field director at IGL, said the Adopt a Region program costs about $100,000 a year for five years, which can be a steep cost for a single church to take on. But for a consortium of churches? That’s more feasible.

“Together, we can accomplish more and achieve more,” Matt said. “I can’t just write a check for $500,000, but what if I gave on a monthly basis $131.81? That’s attainable. I can rebudget some things. Or, maybe break it down–two families partner to each give $75. … The beauty of a consortium is everybody is individually giving small amounts – $25, $50, $1,000. It all adds up to $500,000.”

Neil said Freedom Fellowships aims to fulfill its commitment to support Rajakatti within the next year, with goals to embrace the Adopt a Region program in 2024.

“Adopt a Region is the next level of involvement with IGL,” he said. “IGL is clearly being used by God to spread His message across India, and we can help. Adopt a Region is the front-line work that paves the way for future Adopt a Village programs. Adopt a Region goes where the gospel has never gone before. There are interested churches in the consortium, but no commitments have been made. Please pray for this. We hope to gather three to six churches to join us.”

Neil encouraged anyone interested in supporting IGL financially should do so soon to help us begin the Adopt a Region program next year. Talk to Neil or visit our website to learn how to give to IGL:

God says: “It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” - Isaiah 49:6