Chapter 11: Breaking Through The Barriers

The Powerhouse Journey

Pastor Jeyakaran

If you were from Chennai and walked into one of our Powerhouse churches, you might be in for a surprise.

The worship music and style, on the one hand, could be familiar—lively, up-tempo worship songs, led by a band. But who is that woman up there, leading the worship? Women leading…that doesn’t happen very often.

And look at some of the couples in the congregation. You know enough about the caste system, and who belongs to what caste, to recognize that some of these couples look to be from different castes. Families, linked across caste lines?

And now the worship leader is delivering a greeting. She shares how Jesus loves and regards everyone equally, no matter what gender, caste, or—color? You know good and well that skin-color bias is a social reality here. But look again at some of the couples and families. You see people of lighter and darker shades, together. Amazing!

So how did the Powerhouse churches come into being? It has been a journey.

DEEP ROOTS, DEEP PROBLEMS

CHENNAI IS IN South India—one of the birthplaces for the early church. It is believed that in New Testament times, St. Thomas came, ministered, was martyred, and is buried here. The Christian community here can trace its roots back two thousand years.

With roots come traditions. South India is one of the most conservative areas in our country, and perhaps the world. This runs true for both the Christian church and the society at large. India’s cultures are thousands of years old, so our cultural traditions run deep. Among the many positive aspects of our cultures—love of family, valuing personal relationships, a commitment to community over the individual—run some darker strains:

The caste system. People are segregated by caste and sub-caste. The principle is that all people are created unequally. In India, we have people above us and people below us. And cultural practice dictates that people from different castes remain…


About the Author

JEYAKARAN is founding pastor of Powerhouse Church in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. He also serves as South India Coordinator for Asian Access India. He, his wife Kavitha, and their daughter Abigail Ritika live in Chennai.

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