Education, ethos, excellence… are words that for me have become synonymous with my SAIACS experience! We graduates develop wings but how can we forget our roots or navigate life’s storms without the compass of evangelical truth we received at SAIACS?! In the mid 80s I met Dr. Houghton at Koramangala in a garage, where he convinced me, what India needed is not a million mediocre men, but a few excellent leaders with integrity. I didn’t join then, but took an application from Tej Paul the bursar, convicted that Christian education entailed loving God with all my heart, soul, strength… mind!
In 1990, while pastoring the Bansawadi Bible Church, Dr. Sumitra encouraged me to take courses at SAIACS in Kothanur, where he was the academic dean. Dorothy and I were married on a Saturday; I preached that Sunday and on Monday morning we enrolled in Dr. Kemmler’s class on Hermeneutics. That was our honey moon! “Studies” at SAIACS, for me, was about “building”… character, the Church, the nation, personal vision and global mission! In India we have many gurus and instructors but few fathers (1Cor. 4:15). Dr. Jason, a mentor to me, hearing my cliché, “I want to win India for Christ!” enquired on how exactly I planned this? I glibly replied: “by church-planting!” He then popped a question that changed the course of my life: “How many more churches will you plant before you reach one billion?” The light dawned! Tt’s about training… trainers! I applied to be “faculty-in-training” and surrounded by godly scholars was groomed to head up our pastoral theology and counseling department.
SAIACS is more than preparation for ministry; it is doing life as community, knowing: “None of us are as good as all of us put together!” It was a privilege to get to know our visiting faculty, our services staff, their families, and be challenged to grow by our student body. It was an honor to serve as dean of chapel and campus cell group facilitator. I’ve learnt that leadership is not competitive but “out doing oneself” assisting others to achieve their God-given dreams! Over the years, SAIACS has offered Christian servants academic and missional advancement. In 2000, SAIACS seconded me to the Langham Trust and OCTeam in UK for PhD research. Prof. Nigel Biggar HoD of Theology at the University of Leeds supervised my dissertation. Such an exposure has shaped many of us and given us tools to fulfill God’s “call” and global purposes.
Presently serving as Outreach To Asia Nationals’ Director, I write curriculum and train national leaders to create church planting movements in restricted access countries. It’s fulfiling doing what most Christians don’t, won’t or can’t! At last, I feel God’s pleasure and my life’s purpose! SAIACS is my heritage, yet with the values I’ve gained, I long to make my mark for missions and to leave a legacy for my Lord Jesus Christ and his kingdom!