Leading Like Christ Series
By David Witt
Leadership of Christians in Bangladesh
The SOM International Director of Bangladesh is a hidden jewel in Asia. He turns fifty-six this year—my younger brother by one and half years and has over thirty years of faithful kingdom service in one of the most unreached and impoverished nations on earth. This article in the Leading Like Christ series, featuring SOM International Global Directors, focuses on our brother in Bangladesh.
Challenges and Opportunities for Christians in Bangladesh
Bangladesh is the densest population on earth, which leads to transportation being one of the extreme hazards of working there. Additionally, with over 97 percent identified as Muslim and less than one percent as Christian, it’s a challenging field while simultaneously fertile with opportunity.
The Bold Faith of Son’s Director
The SOM Bangladesh Director’s character exemplifies Christ in a plethora of ways. His faith is bold. He’s passionate about sharing Christ with anyone who will listen. He’s committed to the generous distribution of God’s Word. Finally, he perseveres amid difficulty.
His portfolio of sheer determination in the face of trials includes these examples:
- In 2012 he was arrested, interrogated, and jailed for some days for distributing over 20,000 gospel portions at the world’s largest Islamic religious instruction festival. He attributes the intervention of the Lord for being released after some days in jail and having charges dropped.
- Another time while doing outreach and bicycling in a tribal region, he was hit by a truck which destroyed the bike. He praises God for barely surviving the accident.
- This past year, he contracted COVID-19 and spent two weeks in the hospital on a ventilator, fighting to breathe and stay alive. He felt that the battle was more than just a medical disease but an attack from spiritual forces to take his life. Again, he credits the Lord Jesus for saving his life and using the global prayers of partners that brought him back to health.
These are just a few life-threatening challenges this brother has faced. One commonality is his Christ-like perseverance as he continues to do all these outreaches today with even more earnestness to make disciples in Bangladesh.
Shepherding Christians in Bangladesh Like Jesus
One of the SOM Bangladesh Director’s most vital points may be his shepherding heart. Jesus is the Great Shepherd (pastor) who laid down his life for the sheep. Every time I’ve visited Bangladesh, I’ve observed my brother’s tenderness for the vulnerable sheep. We traveled throughout a major city one day, visiting impoverished believers who lived under a tiny tarp in cardboard and pallet shacks.
One woman who dwelt next to the railroad tracks brightened up when she saw us approach. The director gave her a smile-infused introduction to me. We encouraged this sister in Christ with words of affirmation and prayer before leaving a food bag. Another family we visited had their tea and snack shop next to a garbage-filled river. We enjoyed tea and fellowship and bought simple items from their shop. The day continued in this vein. I witnessed the director love people from Muslim, minority Hindu, Buddhist, and Christian backgrounds—women, children, and men, tribal and non-tribal. He is partial to no one and loves all the congregation of our Lord unconditionally.
Multiplication of Christians in Bangladesh and New Ground
The synergy of the SOM Global network continues to be a catalyst for growth and mutual respect. In 2017, at the invitation of our brother in Asia, the SOM International Director of India and I visited Bangladesh and taught on church planting movements. Shortly after that visit, the SOM Bangladesh Director’s vision expanded to include the multiplication of church planting schools and women’s sewing discipleship schools. Today, he rejoices that they see annually over 200 lost souls respond to faith in Christ and grow in discipleship.
Last of all, I want to mention his family. The director’s wife, only son, and daughter-in-law all participate in and contribute to the ministry. They have heartfelt honor for him and follow his leadership. Like Christ, my brother nurtures and provides for his immediate family. He fulfills the command of Christlikeness in managing his household well as a witness to the world.
Reaching Beyond Bangladesh
We invite you to continue praying for, supporting, and encouraging our global directors and extended family in Christ in Bangladesh and around the world. Pray about your influence and leadership in your community. How is the Holy Spirit using you to serve others? What are the ways you exemplify Christ? How is the Lord working in your heart to further the global family of Christ? Let us know your thoughts and how we can join together in kingdom living and work.