The Gospel for All of Life is a series of conversations on the influence of the gospel across our existence.
The Gospel Coalition India wants to be a platform that connects writers, creators, and thinkers offering gospel-centered resources with people looking for such trusted and timely resources.
TGC India wants to offer contextually sensitive gospel-centered resources that are easily available and accessible for people all over India. Founding Council members of TGC India Akshay Rajkumar, Anand Mahadevan, Arvind Balaram, and Ranjit David talk about TGC India’s desire to support the church in its mandate to make disciples.
Anand: We are here to discuss a very important question. How does The Gospel Coalition in India desire to serve the church? I think at the heart of the question is the content issue. On the one hand, there is a clear lack of content. On the other hand, there is a lot of content, especially online, some of it relevant, some of it not so helpful. And so that’s really the field in which The Gospel Coalition India is walking into. And so how we desire to serve the church, I think it has to come down to a content question. So that’s what we’re going to be discussing today.
Ranjit: Yeah, I think you’re right, Anand. I think India has both a wealth and a dearth issue. I think there is a sense of wealth in terms of resources and people who are producing content or faithful pastors or professionals who are applying the gospel in their context. But the question is where are they? And how do we get access to hear from them or to see their writing? So there is wealth, but it’s in some sense a hidden wealth.
On the other hand, there’s also a dearth of resources where there are people constantly looking for biblical sound resources, which are hard to find in India, especially speaking into the Indian context.
So I feel like TGC, The Gospel Coalition India could be this place, this sabzi mandi, this marketplace where content creators can bring their resources; and people who are looking for resources can find it at a common place. So it could be both something that’s available and accessible for people from every corner of India speaking to every issue of India. Right. For every context in India. So I think that’s where The Gospel Coalition can be helpful.
Anand: So you’re talking about two ways of serving. One is, of course, in producing the content that the church needs. But second, even more equally important is in actually identifying, nurturing a whole new generation of gospel thinkers and gospel writers who can serve the church.
Arvind: I think that one is that we want to produce material content, resources that are biblically faithful, gospel-centred. That is our basis. That is what makes the thing valuable. But then at the same time, India has unique challenges, unique issues, and there’s lots of content out there.
If you Google pretty much any topic, you’ll find so many kinds of resources of all, but people writing from an Indian perspective that really understand the Indian context and understand our issues and our challenges that are specific to our Indian churches, that is much less available. And we hope that The Gospel Coalition India can really fill that gap.
Anand: Yeah. So trustworthy and relevant. But I think you’re also hitting on another theme, which is I think 95% or even 99% of all writers in The Gospel Coalition India are going to be Indian. So the ability to kind of uniquely understand the issues in India, I think that’s going to be a big aspect of what The Gospel Coalition India is planning to do. Yeah.
Akshay: I think what’s exciting is that we get to create a content kind of monument. So we’re in Delhi. If you go to Delhi it’s full of monuments. And my favourite was Humayun’s Tomb growing up. And it’s this beautiful place where if you go, it just lifts you.
And I think what we get to do with The Gospel Coalition India is to kind of build a content monument, where if anybody comes to this website and stays long enough and just goes to the material there, they will grow in an appreciation and a sense of wonder about how true, how good, and how beautiful the gospel is.
And I think that’s very exciting. So that’s just a picture in mind and very idealistic picture.
But more practically, it means that over a long period of time, we want to gather writers from all over India to start organising information in such a way where it’s easily accessible to everyone, which is just what Google wants to do.
Google wants to organize all the world’s information and make it accessible to everyone. So what we want to do is get writers from across India to be able to provide information for any Christian anywhere in India who has a question about how do I apply the gospel to this very specific, particular area of my life.
And so that over a long period of time, any Christian in India can confidently come to The Gospel Coalition and know that for whatever I’m going through as a Christian, something is there that will make me grow in appreciation and wonder about how true, how good, and beautiful the gospel is. Yeah.
Anand: I think that’s one way The Gospel Coalition really desires to be an ally of the church.
No one pastor can be available all the time to answer the questions that come up in the minds of all their members. And so we see ourselves as a faithful ally, which is there in the background, but constantly available to anyone who might have a need at any given point in time.
Ranjit: I’m reminded of the IPL in cricket, right? I mean, we’re all cricket fans, and IPL completely changed the landscape of cricket in India. Before, there used to be just a few select players who are known to people or even Sachin who was kind of holding the whole team. But now you have cricketers from all corners of India, villages and towns, and who are able to compete on a world stage.
And I hope The Gospel Coalition India could be that kind of a place where we are getting voices from people we’ve never thought of, or people who are in different corners of India, different pockets, speaking into issues. And hopefully it also gives people a new passion to write, a new passion to produce content that is very contextual and biblically sound. So I hope The Gospel Coalition can kind of unleash that kind of a potential India.
Anand: I love that comparison between IPL and The Gospel Coalition; The Gospel Coalition doing to Christian thinkers and writers what the IPL did to cricket players. So I think that’s a great analogy.
Arvind: I think it’s important also to affirm that the central place of growth, teaching, learning is in the local church. And so we want to really come alongside the local church and support the local church with content, with resources, while affirming that the local church is the main place where people should grow and should connect with one another in fellowship. And so we’re just coming alongside to support with a lot of good resources. We hope. Yeah.
Anand: I think it’s so important that this be said that the local pastors and the local elders are God’s chosen instruments to preach God’s word to the local congregation.
And TGC just hopes to be there in the background as a very faithful ally. It’s kind of like a choir or a worship team. The Gospel Coalition India desires to be all the background singers where the pastor and the elders, of course, are the lead vocalist there. But we want to come alongside to support them. So I think it’s important that we say that and affirm the role of elders in the local congregation in the preaching of God’s word. Yeah.
Akshay: And even as a pastor, I still today will face a question that I need an answer for; and I have a habit of every now and then going to Google, typing the issue and then tagging The Gospel Coalition at the end of it, and I get a response because I know that when I go to this website, I’m going to get someone who’s thought about it before.
But what’s exciting about The Gospel Coalition India is that hopefully in the years to come, Indian pastors and leaders and really anyone will be able to do that knowing that there’s an Indian Christian who has thought about this through a very Indian lens and applied the gospel to our very specific situation. And that’s what’s exciting to me. Yeah.
Anand: I think the reality is that no one pastor, no one church, however large a congregation he may lead is going to be able to develop the resources to answer all the questions. And I think what The Gospel Coalition hopes to do is leave the pastor to shepherd the congregation well. But in the background, kind of build and develop these resources.
All this is going to take time, isn’t it?
Akshay: It is going to take a lot of time. And I think it’s like a marathon. I mean, we can’t expect creating a content monument to be a sprint. Rome wasn’t built in a day. The Gospel Coalition won’t be built in a day. It’s going to take years, decades, maybe. It may even outlive us. And that’s exciting. It’s exciting to be able to participate in something, the fruit of which we may not even live to see. And that’s okay. It’s a good thing. Anyway. Yeah.
Anand: Any other thoughts? Anything? Yes.
Arvind: I think apart from the content, I’m looking forward to the fact that we’re really going to be able to collaborate on this. And I think The Gospel Coalition India will be a platform where pastors, like-minded people can come together and really collaborate to produce these kinds of resources that we can share, that we can learn, that we can even find out about who other people are around the country, who are like minded, who are doing good work, and can also have an opportunity to share that. So I’m really looking forward to that. Yeah.
Anand: I think that’s a great way to kind of summarise all that all the different ways in which we’re hoping to serve the church—content that’s biblically true, trustworthy; content that’s relevant; content that’s created 95% or more by Indian writers and a clear philosophy of ministry that is looking to be a trusted and a faithful ally to the local church and to the larger church in India.
I think that really kind of captures the essence of how we’re hoping, as Akshay shared, in the many years, decades to come, how we are hoping The Gospel Coalition in India will faithfully serve the church. Yeah.