Will Church Growth In India Overtake China?

In 1981 I spent a year in India doing traditional Christian missions. In 2009 Annette and I were extremely fortunate to be invited back to attend the inaugural world house church conference. There I met a leader of an Indian house church movement who graciously sent me his annual report a few months after the conference. I cannot give names as the Indian government is growing increasingly alarmed at the growth they are seeing under their nose!

Although this report is for 2009, it is instructive for us as it gives us an insight into the amazing work that is currently going on in India. The movement from 10 million to 110 million believers that occurred in China late last century is now being repeated in India. The following charts summarise the growth for that year in the heartland of Hinduism, North India.

I would not be surprised to see many more than 110 million Indian believers by 2050 as this movement is firmly embedded inside the Hindu culture. These people do not appear on the traditional “Christian” radar. For the last few centuries church planting has been executed in India using a western cultural model with all its negative baggage, and has been unable to penetrate the Hindu culture to any large extent. This is now changing as you can see below.

Model New House churches 2009 Total House Churches Baptisms in 2009 Total Believers at end of 2009
Urban Outreach 736 2,148 7,382 26,451
Rural Outreach 2,644 8,832 25,598 94,622
Muslim Outreach 116 584 694 2,711
Totals 3,499 11,564 33,674 123,784


State Believers, end of 2009 House churches, end of 2009
Utta Pradesh 61,209 6,175
Rajisthan 23,148 2,034
Panjab 10,675 1,065
Haryana 1,1517 1,020
Delhi 17,235 1,270

I received an update from another of these house church movements a few years ago when he was visiting Australia and his movement had been growing at about 30-50% per year in the state of Hamachal Pradesh. This gives you an idea of the speed of the changes taking place inside this once great country and future global superpower.