North Carolina’s Triangle – Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill – is an East Coast version of Silicon Valley. This area is home to the Research Triangle Park, major universities, world-class healthcare, global businesses, engineering research and jobs, and computer and tech companies. This makes the Triangle an immigration hub for Hindus from India.
Global Gates’ UPG Priority Matrix reports the greatest Hindu concentrations in the Triangle are in Raleigh (12,038 Hindi-speaking Indians in Morrisville and 6,688 Gujarati in Shiloh).
They also work at CISCO, IBM, other computer software companies, and in the IT wings of hospitals and banks. And many are pursuing graduate degrees from area universities.
Some are doctors and small business owners of hotels, restaurants, and gas stations.
When it comes to places of worship, at least six Hindu temples span the Triangle.
Their relational accessibility is high. For example, they might take their kids to your child’s karate class, visit the same parks you frequent, and live nearby. You might even have Hindu coworkers.
An effective gospel witness to Hindus should begin on a relational level. That starts with going to where they are, introducing yourself, taking time to get to know them, and inviting them into your life.
Seek to find a mutual connection. An easy on-ramp is to mention local Indian restaurants you have tried. Ask which one(s) they recommend. You can share your desire to try home-cooked Indian food. It wouldn’t be abnormal for them to invite someone they just met into their home. Or, you can invite them over for dinner. Make sure to get their phone number.
Another way to meet Indians is to google local Hindu festivals, attend, check out the exhibits, approach people of your gender, and be the foreigner who is always asking questions. Get their phone number and set up a time to share a meal or hangout.
A Global Gates worker said he does not usually share the gospel during the first encounter he has with Hindus, because he wants to meet with them again, sit down, and have a conversation.
During their second encounter he’ll ask about their festivals, the stories behind them, and if there is a religious connection. They say yes and will share a little bit, then he asks about their devotional or religious life. He does that instead of asking if they believe in God because that is too abstract. He is asking about their lifestyle, so this gives a better idea of who they are and what they believe.
As soon as they’re done answering, a good transition is to share that you’re devoted to Jesus.
Tell them what your life was like before you knew Christ, how he saved you, and how he changed you. Ask if they know about Jesus. This will not only gauge how much they know but their interest, too.
If the conversation continues, then share Bible stories. The story of Jesus healing the demon-possessed man (Mark 5:1-20) shows his power to save. The story of Jesus and the woman at the well (John 4:1-29) shows how he takes away shame. The story of Jesus calming the storm (Mark 4:35-41) shows how he is the one who brings peace.
The idea is to connect these stories to your own devotional life.
“They need to see Jesus is alive, he’s real, he has power, and he’s the one who’s worthy of our worship,” a Global Gates missionary said.
“You’re connecting it to a whole lifestyle of following Christ because you’re inviting them into that.”
Avoid talking about Jesus as the lamb who was slain. It won’t make sense to them, and it could be a barrier for sharing the gospel. Say “offering” instead of “sacrifice.”
It’s important to not only explain that sin is disobeying God, but that it is also bringing shame on his name. When discussing salvation, it’s vital to explain that it’s not just about forgiveness of sins. That’s a means to an end. The end is that you get God and eternity with him.
Say, “turn from sin and turn to Christ,” instead of “repent.”
Believers in the Triangle have an opportunity to call their unreached Hindu neighbors out of darkness and into the marvelous light of Christ.
So, go, tell, and make disciples. You are sent.
-Ben Doster, Global Gates Director of Communications, firstname.lastname@example.org