India's population is estimated to be over 1.3 billion. The country is divided into 29 states and 7 union territories. Though there are an estimated 19,500 languages and dialects, 21 official languages are recognized and widely used within the subcontinent.
The six main religions and their population percentages in India are Hinduism (80%), Islam (13%), Christianity (2.3%), Sikkhism (1.9%), Buddhism (0.8%), Jainism (0.4%). Though Christianity is believed to have been brought to India by the apostle Thomas in the first century A.D., the message of the gospel of Jesus has still not been taken to many unreached rural parts.
An estimated two-thirds of the population of India live in poverty, including many of whom reside in rural village and agricultural contexts. Many people residing in these contexts belong to lower or scheduled castes and are therefore marginalized from mainstream Indian society. It is in these contexts and with these people that GGM missionaries live, minister and serve.
Planting a church begins by identifying rural areas with no Christian witness. GGM Seminary students develop relationships, serve as tutors and begin a Sunday school. With patience, and God willing, a group will begin meeting under a tree or in a home. As people believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and as funds are available, a church is built. In time, a missionary is appointed to teach, encourage and build up the congregation.
Called servants of God native to the region understand the culture, speak the language, and gain quicker access within the village community. Missionary families live a life of great sacrifice to serve Christ in these villages, earning about $100/mo.