Although Nepal is a Hindu nation, Christianity has multiplied rapidly over the past 15-20 years. Research shows that 90% of the churches in rural Nepal have leaders who do not have adequate ministry training. In addition, 90% of the training centers and seminaries are in the capital, Kathmandu, making training inaccessible to rural pastors.
The rapid church growth in the rural areas of Nepal is led by Christian workers who are under-trained, isolated and without any relation to traditional denominations and seminaries. Furthermore, most seminary leaders in the country lack awareness of the needs and challenges experienced by the new churches.
Today, Nepali churches are full of first-generation believers, and the lack of equipped pastors is hindering the discipleship of these new believers. If left unaddressed, this will adversely impact the future health and viability of the church.
In Nepal, UWM’s Overseas Council (OC) ministry is working to take ministry training to rural pastors and lay leaders out to where they serve. Through OC’s network, 127 churches were selected for training in 13 strategic locations across the country. From these churches, 30 men and women were provided with formal training in ministry and leadership. Once trained, these men and women facilitated non-formal training in Bible, evangelism, discipleship, and church planting for 300 grassroot pastors and regional leaders. These 300 men and women are now going out to evangelize and baptize the unreached!
One such impact story involves Rupa, a 32-year-old housewife.
Rupa was one of the original 30 men and women to receive formal training. When she completed her courses in oral bible storytelling and holistic child development, she engaged her community by teaching Nepali children English through Bible stories. After a while, she developed trust and rapport with the women, which gave her an opening to share gospel stories with them. Pretty soon, the women began sharing these stories with their husbands, which resulted in Nepali households wanting fellowship to learn and grow in the faith. It has been very encouraging to see Rupa plant two house church fellowships and pray for the healing of those around her. She is passionately working to develop several women in faith and ministry leadership. The local leadership has observed a great hunger for God’s Word among the members of her fellowships, which fills us with joy.