“And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high,and how deep his love is.” Ephesians 3:18, NLT
This may sound like heresy, but here goes: I tire of talking about Bakht Singh!
Why would anyone tire of talking about the Sikh international student from northern India who not only surrendered his life to Jesus Christ while at the University of Manitoba in the early 1930s, but also became a towering evangelist and church planter in India?
I occasionally encounter those still being impacted by the life (1903–2000) of this former international student. For example, at the Halifax Jesus to the Nations missions conference this spring, I met an international student from a Bakht Singh assembly in India. Some reports point to as many as 10,000 such churches globally. A missionary family’s work among refugees and immigrants in the States, as well as multiple ministries in India, are the result of Bakht Singh’s impact. The father was discipled and married by Singh in India.
As phenomenal and exemplary as the Bakht Singh story is, I tire of telling it because making more Bakht Singhs is why ISMC exists. Yes, Maged penetrates Muslim communities in Egypt with the love of Jesus . . . I could tell you about Michael’s workplace church plant in Communist China . . . about Clement’s gospel influence in secular France . . . about Manuel’s youth and marketplace ministry in Mexico. All well and good, but we need many more students and alumni empowered to impact the world through Jesus Christ.
If I needed a good description for why ISMC exists, I’d invent the word em-pact—empowered to impact!
Providing hospitality and friendship, discipling international students, and developing them as leaders is all-important and impressive, but is not the end goal. The end goal is seeing Christlike leaders making powerful kingdom impacts in every sphere and dimension—from archeology and mathematics to ecclesiology to zoology. All this, so God’s glory is evident and responded to by all nations!
Just as Paul desired the Ephesian church to experience all dimensions of God’s love—its width, its length, its height, its depth—ISMC’s strategic plan for the last six years was to grow:
Wide—From 2013–16 we spread from coast to coast and grew 70% in new staff and locations.
Deep—We grew from 2016–19 with a focus on our spiritual and emotional health, consolidating the gains of 2013–16.
High—And now, from 2019 to 2022, we want to go high by seeing an upward dependence on God and a visible focus on doing whatever it takes to see throngs of students and alumni making eternal impacts through and for Jesus Christ.
This big order can be reached with a five-fold go high strategy.
While helpful to salute Bakht Singh and his amazing ministry, we need to empower young servants like Michael Bhatti (Read his full story) to impact his native northern India. As you read and respond to the Impacting India project, we will indeed go higher together!
Dr. Yaw Perbi