POWERHOUSE MINISTRY REPORT (NOVEMBER 2006 to APRIL 2007)
Our church’s long term vision is to plant churches, ministries and projects across the city of Chennai (and eventually in other metro cities of India) to reach particularly the educated, urban, English speaking, middle and upper class segment, with the gospel of Jesus Christ. These churches planted among this target group will become a resource of churches that will adopt the poor and marginalized communities around them to bring holistic transformation. In pursuing our vision, we have been working in the following areas over the last six months:
Youth Outreach: A Career Foundation Course was conducted by us in partnership with Campus Crusade for Christ over a three week period at the Powerhouse Center in Velachery. This course was attended by 20 non Christian unemployed graduates and final year students. The course culminated with a day long camp at Mahabalipuram (beach resort town) where we were able to share the Gospel with them. Most of them have accepted the Lord and are regularly attending our Bible study program.
Christmas Outreaches: The month of November was dedicated to planning, preparing and praying for our month long December Christmas outreaches. In a Hindu country like India, the Christmas season provides us the most natural and non-threatening opportunity to share the gospel through Christmas music events at secular venues including the Corporate sector, Malls, Restaurants etc., This Christmas we were able to give away 600 VCDs and distribute specially written Christmas tracts at several outreach programs which included the Abirami Mega Mall (multiplex and shopping city mall) on December 24th 2006, Coconut Grove (gated residential community) on December 17th 2006, Abacus International School on December 15th 2006 and at Sutherland Global Services (corporate community) on 20th December 2006. We had an opportunity to do Christmas programs over 4 weeks from December 8th till Christmas (on Friday evenings) at Sparky’s American Diner along with Women of Worth Band & Naveen Thiagaraj’s Bards on the Loft. There was great audience interaction at these programs as we ministered through music.
December Sunday Services & Concerts: We revised the format of our Sunday worship services for the month of December to an evangelistic flavor so that seekers could be invited. Every week in December, we invited several well known Christian artists and bands to join in our worship services and also included skits and multimedia presentations. Each service was summed up with a short message followed by altar calls. Several individuals accepted the Lord and many others renewed commitments of faith. On the evenings of 10th, 17th and 24th of December we had Christmas evangelistic concerts at Velachery (venue of new church plant), featuring many gospel bands and artists sharing the message of Jesus through Christmas music. This city suburb is one of the fastest growing spaces in the metropolis and is home to a large chunk of India’s IT corporate sector. There are thousands of young people who work and reside in this area and the Powerhouse Center is strategically placed to cater to this growing segment of society.
Tsunami Project: Our church plant in the Tsunami village of Ennore (population of 2500 families) continues to grow and around 200 people attend the church that we planted after the devastating Tsunami. A fasting and prayer meeting is conducted weekly on Fridays which are regularly attended by close to 150 persons. It has been a difficult time for the families living in this area as South India experiences torrential rainfall during these months because of the monsoon rains. The area allocated to the Tsunami village is low lying and is in constant danger of getting flooded during the monsoon season. Many of the families were unable to cook food and we were able to cook and reach food to them for several days (October 29th, November 5th, 12th, 19th, 26th & December 3rd and 10th 2006. A fresh batch of students (young women) have begun training for Tailoring and 15 young men are to begin training for Commercial Vehicle Driving license from December 14th 2006 - these projects are to develop alternate livelihood options for the Tsunami affected. Our 3 member full-time ministry team at the Tsunami Village (including a pastor) continue spiritual input along side these rehabilitation efforts through weekly prayer meetings, church services, personal visitation & counseling, retreats etc. On December 17th, a special Christmas program was conducted. Sweets and snacks were served after the meeting attended by nearly 200 persons. 9 people were baptized.
Suburban Slum Project: The same ministry team from the Tsunami project also minister to over 60 children at a slum community at Ambattur (city suburb). Regular meetings are held and Christmas programs were conducted on December 17th, 19th & 20th for those living in this city suburb. The Gospel was shared and Snacks were served after the program. 8 people came forward and were baptized.
From the beginning of 2007, the following events were conducted:
26 Jan ’07 – Powerhouse Pictreat: 65 members of the church came together to spend a day of fun and fellowship at a nearby beach resort. In the morning we spent some time in thanksgiving and worship and attended a session of Bible teaching.
10th to 17th Feb ’07 - Christian Emphasis Week at KIS: A team of 25 church members spent a week ministering to the students of the Kodaikanal International School – a private school with students from all over the world – through teaching, performing arts and musical sessions. The Powerhouse Band performed an evening in concert mid week. Students were greatly impacted through the various sessions.
6th to 8th March ’07 – Women’s Day Workshops by WOW: The women’s ministry of Powerhouse Church, “Women of Worth” conducted half a day workshops at various institutions In Chennai for the special occasion of Womens Day. They ministered to the graduating students at Women’s Christian College, the staff of World Vision and the staff at SIFY (IT Company & BPO) on various issues concerning development of women and awareness of their rights as God’s children.
28th March ’07 – Easter Musical Nite at IIT, Chennai: We were invited by the Christian Fellowship of the Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai to present an evening of music in celebration of Easter. Several artistes from the church joined together to portray the resurrection of Jesus through contemporary music. This event was attended by several hundred students and faculty members, some of them belonging to other faiths.
31st March ’07 – Easter Musical at Velachery: On Sunday evening, Christian artists presented an entire evening of music based on the life of Christ and His resurrection at the Powerhouse Center in Velachery. The event was well attended and many were blessed.
13th April ’07 – Dave Bilbrough Concert: Dave Bilbrough and his wife Pat performed at the Museum Theatre in Chennai to a full house enthralling them with 120 minutes of soul stirring music. This occasion brought together people from churches all over the city to join and worship God. This event enabled us to launch a special program to feed and minister to the homeless community in Vepery near the church.
14th April ’07 – Worship Seminar: Dave and Pat Bilbrough conducted a three session seminar on the various aspects of worship with exercises on rhythm and singing. 30 people attended the sessions.
Tsunami & Slum Project Update – January to April 2007
As a part of our program to enable members of this economically deprived community to find a suitable vocation, efforts have been taken as follows since January 2007:
(a) 15 persons have been sent to Vehicle Driving School and have completed the course and issued driving licenses by the local DMV.
(b) 8 persons have completed a 4 month course in Tailoring.
The next batches of candidates for these two courses are ready to start classes from May 7th 2007. 10 persons of which 4 are reformed criminals came forward earlier this month and have been baptized.
Homeless Community Development Program
The city of Chennai has hundreds of clusters of homeless (street) people, approximately 40,000 in number in its environs. We have started a new project from April 2007 to cater to the holistic development of these underprivileged folk. Powerhouse has adopted a homeless community of 87 families in EVK Sampath Road, Vepery for a start and the Pastor of our slum project and our social workers visit with these families twice a week to ascertain their needs and to find ways to help them. A detailed survey has been conducted in this regard and we propose to conduct a medical camp initially as health is a priority. The Pastor also regularly conducts a prayer meeting which is well attended. By the grace of God it has been a fruitful year and we thank the Lord for enlarging our coast. We thank you for your invaluable support and prayers which enabled us to reach out to so many souls through 2006. Even as we move into the latter half of 2007, please continue to uphold us and our ministry in your prayers. This season our focus is on infrastructure and growth of the church body. Please do pray that the Lord would guide us to plan strategically and work towards the vision He has imparted to us.