Nagaland is a small and remote state in northeastern India. Though many of its people live in bamboo-thatch houses with no indoor plumbing, they can now watch YouTube videos. The recent expansion of mobile phone service will likely transform their culture.
In August, Scott Kelly, Senior Pastor of Evanston Baptist Church (EBC), in Illinois, travelled to Nagaland, which is known for its 16 tribes—with head-hunting practices in their not-so-distant past. Kelly says he’s still trying to comprehend the implications of this region’s rapid technological changes.
The pastor went to teach and preach in Nagaland’s Zunheboto district at the invitation of EBC members with family there. He learned that the gospel worked a transformation among tribes over the past 100 years, ending village-to-village warfare. But he’s concerned about nominalism, saying Nagaland is more “Christianized,” than Christian, with “an unbiblical understanding of the gospel.”
Kelly met with Sumi-Naga brothers and sisters who love Jesus, but he says the churches “appear to be in great need of revival and reformation.” Without it, he believes the lack of sound theology will keep God’s people stuck in unhealthy traditions.
The Sumi Baptist Association of Churches in Nagaland sponsors Nito Theological College, which trains workers for local churches. Since formal education is in English, the college library has some good biblical resources. However, students have few books of their own.
Aware of the need, Kelly requested materials available without cost through TGC International Outreach. Within days, he had solid theological resources to carry to those students and their leaders: two Pastor’s Book Sets, and five cases of books including Expositional Preaching, by David Helm, and The Word Made Flesh, by Ligonier Ministries.
Scott Kelly hopes and prays for further transformation in Nagaland—biblical influence that brings reformation, beginning in the Sumi churches.