From Home Groups to Churches: The gospel travels a new, old path
A local pastor in India said when he was introduced to Thru the Bible’s Home Group model, “I have been praying for something like this for 16 years! Now our people can learn the Word of God systematically.”
For months now on the Bible Bus, you’ve likely heard Gregg and Steve talk about the Home Groups that are forming throughout India, in Bangladesh, Nepal, and now in north Africa.
What is a Thru the Bible Radio Home Group?
On the radio: Thru the Bible is heard in India in 25 of their most recognized trade languages. But India has over 1,600 languages—too many and too expensive to broadcast them all on radio. In other regions, it’s the radio that’s inaccessible.
“The local church met in private homes for the first three centuries. The church began in the home; it will return to the home today. The church has never been the building. Many of the great mausoleums called churches today are nothing but a pile of brick and stone and mortar. The real church is a living body of believers.” -Dr. McGee, from our study in Romans 16
What a great idea!
A Radio Home Group is simple: Gather 7-10 people every week to listen to Dr. McGee’s teaching on a digital player, followed by discussion and prayer. The hope is that this group would eventually develop into a church fellowship.
Today, more than 5,000 Radio Home Groups meet every week across India, listening to Thru the Bible in 124 different languages.
Why so many languages?
It’s all about reaching people with the Word of God in their “heart language,” often referred to as their “mother tongue.”
In nearby Bangladesh: After just a few months of a similar Radio Home Group ministry launch, more than 100 groups study Thru the Bible together.
And in Pakistan, more than 1000 groups are now studying Thru the Bible in Home Groups.
Recently, the Home Group initiative launched in Mauritania, in Hassaniya Arabic. This West African country is almost 100% Muslim and—from man’s point of view—an impossible terrain for the spread of the gospel.
If you want to pray specifically for spiritual fruit to grow in south Asia and northern Africa, ask God to provide the people and resources to translate Thru the Bible content for these new groups reaching a potential audience of 133 million in India alone. Ask in faith that God would open doors and hearts so many thousands will encounter God’s Word in new ways.
But George Philip, the leader of TWR-India, had an idea. As an experiment, he translated some of Dr. McGee’s key teaching from several Bible books into India’s smaller languages. Working with churches and mission groups around India, they developed a 3-year weekly curriculum to be used in “Thru the Bible Home Groups.”