Gospel for Asia President, K.P. Yohannan
The founder and president for Gospel for Asia, K.P. Yohannan, was born and raised in a small village in South India. At age eight, Yohannan accepted Christ as his personal Savior, and by sixteen, Yohannan was volunteering in North India with Operation Mobilization. Through the next years of serving as a volunteer, a seminary student, and a pastor in Dallas, Texas, Yohannan never forgot the millions of brothers and sisters lost on his native soil, India. With a heart for his homeland, and a great desire to follow God, so began the incredible journey of serving the Lord through Gospel for Asia (GFA).
K.P. Yohannan & William Cooper
With a huge presence in Asia, GFA has become one of the most effective missions there today with 54 Bible Colleges and over 8,000 native missionaries in training for church planting. The GFA mission is: "to be devout followers of Christ and fulfill the Great Commission among the unreached in Asia through training, sending and assisting qualified laborers to win the lost and plan local churches in partnership with the Body of Christ." With a big mission and an even bigger heart, Yohannan has set GFA's vision on track with the goal of sending 100,000 native missionaries into areas of Asia that have been unreached. At this time, there are more than 14,000 native missionaries serving, with the incredible feat of planting ten churches per day.
Recently, Bill Cooper, president and CEO of ChristiaNet.com, spent time with K. P. Yohannan and had the opportunity to interview this remarkable man of God. Yohannan discussed with ChristiaNet his ministry, his dependence upon the Lord, and his take on the condition of the North American church today. Candid and convicted to follow the Lord only, Yohannan proves to live out his life demonstrating what he believes.
Yohannan and GFA operate daily with a conviction to depend upon God's leading. He discussed how we are experts in research and structure, and we are experts in getting the job done with excellent execution. But he, Yohannan, explained that he was talking about a different ball game than expertise and manipulation of time and power. "David asked God, "Should I go against the Philistines?" And God said, "Yes," so David wiped them out. But, in the next chapter, you read about how David faced the exact same problem again, and asked God, "Lord, what should I do?" But that time, God said, "Don't do anything." So, even with the same situation and same problem, God did not come to David and say "David, I see your same problem again." No, the Lord waited. The Lord waits."
Yohannan went on to describe his unique ability to understand the apostle Paul's statement about being a "bond slave of Jesus Christ" because of his beginnings in India. "Outside a large office in India, a man sits on a stool. That's all he does. He just sits there. When the boss comes out of the large office, the man on the stool says to the boss, "Sir, what would you like me to do?" The boss says, "Make me a cup of tea." The man takes three steps backward and turns around to go make the tea. He then brings it back. Then he says to the boss, "Anything else, sir?" If the boss says "no," then the servant just sits back down again on the stool. That is all he does. He has no agenda of his own."
Yohannan explained that it is to be the same way in the Christian life. "We are to have no agenda of our own, but to be totally sold out to God." Yohannan has spent time training his mind and emotions to discern God's voice and carry out God's commands through disciplined study of the Word, time in prayer, and fasting. When asked about the amount of time he spent in these disciplines, Yohannan revealed, "Everyday I read the Bible. At least one day of the week, I fast, which is not at all unusual." But, Yohannan also cautioned against the potential to become legalistic about prayer schedules and programmed fasting. "The amount of time we spend praying and the number of days we fast is something we should be private about. Publicizing how much we pray and fast becomes a burden and not an encouragement [to others]."
K. P. Yohannan shared his heart and concerns for the North American Church today in ChristiaNet's interview. "I may be off the wall, but I personally think that the church in North America is going back to the Dark Ages." He explained, "Since the beginning of the 19th century, we have not had sober, serious writings about the holiness of God or the fear of God. Why? Because experience became the measuring rod for spirituality rather than the Word of God."
Seeing the Christian community become involved in fame and fortune has attributed to Yohannan's convictions. "Who are the shepherds or our country today?" Those who write books. But sadly, what are publishing houses all about? Money." He goes on to explain that the messages we are receiving from the pulpit and from the books published by Christian Publishers is all about us, and not God's holiness and truths. "We are in the Dark Ages because the Bible is no longer the book by which people live by nor the book they will be judged by. The Bible has just become the "tool of the trade" by which pastors and writers market their books and make a living."
Ultimately, K.P. Yohannan has a message that inspires all to follow in the footsteps and example of Christ, regardless of the mission field or call upon one's life. "Jesus died to His will to do the Father's will." Yohannan believes that we must make sure that our heart condition is right before the Lord. "It is better to walk with the Lord now than to look back on life and regret having missed what will count for eternity - God's work." K.P. Yohannan, a true follower of God, and an inspiration to all.