Monday, March 11, 2013

Bakht Singh: Ministry in Pakistan

  Christianity in Pakistan is mainly considered as a Western or foreign religion, as British colony there were many churches which were left in the hands of local people after the World War II when British government left this Subcontinent. These local Church leaders ran them in the same fashion as British without, making much change. As a result there were no indigenous churches as such in Pakistan. Brother Bakht Singh pioneered in this area and brought a deep and lasting change in the history of church planting by establishing Brethren assemblies in Pakistan before partition which continued even after the partition.
Bakht Singh was born in Joiya near Manwal, Punjab which is now part of Pakistan on 6th June 1903, in a Hindu family who were devotees of Sikhism. He was also a staunch Sikh and even though he studied in Presbyterian mission school at Gujranwala, near Lahore city (now part of Pakistan). When he passed intermediate level of education he received bible as a gift but he torn the bible. He got married in 1915 when he was young boy. He went to England to study agricultural engineering in 1926, there he adapted the modern life style of his time, but he was not happy with his life. (Koshy T.E, ‘Brother Bakht Singh of India)
While he was in England Lord has started working in his life, he experienced the presence of Jesus Christ during his travel on a ship in 1928. When he was staying in Canada for holidays with a Christian family they engaged him in family devotions every night. There he came to know more about Christ and later accepted Him as his personal Lord and Savior in Dec 16, 1929. He was baptized in 1932 and returned to Bombay in April 1933. At that time, India was not divided. He had ministry not only in Pakistan but in many other countries. Bakht Singh died on 17th September 2000. (Koshy T.E , ‘Brother Bakht Singh of India)
After his conversion there was a drastic change in his life he arrived in Pakistan in 1933 and he went to Karachi. He started his Evangelistic ministry by working among the sweepers and lepers. His ministry was in different areas in Pakistan in the regions of Sindh, he also worked in Quetta city in Baluchistan and in Punjab: Lahore, Sialkot, Multan, Faisalabad, Martinpur, Youngsonabad, Sangla Hill, Shantinagar, Kala Pathana, 92 Chak (Village name), Rawalpindi, Sargodha and other remote villiages.
T E Koshy in his book “Brother Bakht Singh of India” gives the strategy of his ministry:
“The Lord accepted him for his ministry on three conditions:
1. Do not join any organizations— serve all equally.
2. Do not make your own plan. Let me guide you and lead you every step of the way.
3. Do not make your needs known to any human being. Ask me only and I shall provide for your needs.”
First he worked with different denominations but later he felt the need and started indigenous Brethren Assemblies with unique features. He was the man of prayer, a teacher, itinerary preacher (preacher traveling place to place), evangelist, healer and church planter. The Lord raised up several Brethren Assemblies during 1942 – 1960 based on New Testament Principles,  “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer”Acts 2:42 (Koshy T.E , ‘Brother Bakht Singh of India)
His burden was to see people receive Christ as their Savior and Lord and live in obedience to the will of God. He shared the Gospel boldly; his ministry was among nominal Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, and Muslims. His ministry was so fruitful that soon many churches were planted in the province of Sindh and Punjab. (Koshy T.E , ‘Brother Bakht Singh of India)
Western scholars asked him how he knew so much about the Bible and he replied that he meditates on the Bible on his knees. He did his ministry with fasting and prayer, his ministry was always extraordinary with great impact and life changing.
The impact on the church in Pakistan
A.    Indigenous churches
Due to a British colony there were churches planted by overseas missionaries. Bakht Singh planted Indigenous churches with a desire to grow its roots deeper in the culture and hearts of the people. The local assemblies in Pakistan are known as “Brethren Churches”.
B.     Unique structure:
Assemblies in Pakistan were not brethren as so-called denominational but when the first leaders were baptized Bakht Singh called them brother. However later some missionaries joined the work but its structure remains the same until this day.
C.    Unity
All the Brethren assemblies started by man of God had one pattern and therefore one national body came into being. In India and other countries, Brethren have their own separate local churches and missions but in Pakistan, they work in unity with the Brethren Assemblies related to Bakht Singh with different dynamics.
The End of his Ministry in Pakistan
He had to leave Pakistan in 1963, when he was ministering in Shantinagar. Some nominal Christians out of jealousy reported against Bakhat Singh because of that report without any further enquiry he was deported from Pakistan, and was never able to come again.
Because of this sudden departure, Evangelism work in Pakistan and Brethren Assemblies suffered because of the absence of great leader and man of God. But the work he started continued flourishing and advancing by the grace of God.
Lessons we can learn from the life and ministry of this great leader and man of God are:
Simple living
He did not have any worldly luxuries. He had ministry throughout the subcontinent however, he did not feel the need of a car, bicycle or even his own bullock-cart. He traveled by any source available at that time which was most of the time on foot. He lived a very simple life without any bank balance, for he loved the Lord more than anything in this world.
Holistic ministry and Bible Based
Teaching, preaching, ministers in people’s needs evangelizing mentoring, counseling and Church planting were all part of his ministry. The churches, he planted were based in Scriptures. Every single tradition was taken from the Bible. Like laying hands upon brothers to dedicate them for the work of the Lord, Holy convocation and the church service everything was Bible based. These characteristics of his ministry made him a legend in the history indigenous church in the Indian subcontinent.
Brother Bakht Singh was great a man of the Lord because he emptied himself and gave up everything as a sign of total obedience and dependence upon the Lord. He took the word of God like a lamp to guide his way. That is why even though he had not much resources, like we have today yet he made a great impact and significant role in developing indigenous churches in Pakistan. God has chosen us too. If we follow him and depend upon him totally, He can use us to bring a great difference in the lives of individuals and the church as a whole.
References: Koshy T.E, ‘Brother Bakht Singh of India’: An Account of 20th Century Apostolic Revival.OM books. Secunderabad, India. 2003.


  1. Hi Kuya! Very good and encouraging blog by a man who exemplified a life well lived for the Lord. Just a thought, based on his example, how has the church changed in such a way where in the people would not see Christianity as a foreign religion? I am seeing that just like in other countries and other accounts of mission work, people really have a hard time initially seeing and accepting Christianity because of its Western background and western practices. All in all though, this blog should be a reminder to us workers to keep on living and serving God in spite of difficulties and challenges.

  2. This great man modeled to us about how he committed to the ministry, with his dedication many souls knew Christ for their salvation, my prayer is more people from Pakistan will respond to the call of God like him.

  3. Good Job, Bro.
    I pray that so may people in Pakistan will come to God.

  4. Amazing how Mr. Singh struggled for the indigenous churches in Pakistan. Even if there were already many Christians in Pakistan on the time of the British but this man worked for a Christian church with the local favor. The vision of Mr. Singh reminded me to strive for a church that the local community would accept as its own and not be viewed as foreign. He also remind me to be humble while serving in the Lord's ministry.

  5. Nice write up! Bakht Singh was deported because of some nominal Christians? That is just sad. What is worst is that even to this day that still happens. I've heard stories and even witnessed same events. Sadly, some Christians have a notorious reputation in putting leaders down, then ending up sorry in the long run. Sometimes we witness the making of a leader then we witness their fall due to the damaged reputation that was caused by jealousy from the people whom they are serving. There are times wherein we even experience the same when the people around us seem to be over critical and judgmental. Our ministry though should not end there. It should continue no matter what. Inspiring write up! Good job! ;)

  6. Roshan Nepali- yes kuya it is true if we completely surrender to God and fully depend on Him then every believer can bring the changes in our Churches today. today our churches is waiting a person like Bakht Singh. thank you for the inspiring article.

  7. Great man of God... His life reflect Christ. It's my prayer that the Lord will continually raise-up more leaders like him in Pakistan.

  8. Niraj: Thank kuya for the amazing and challenging blog. I am really challenged from the life and ministry of Bakht Singh. His life shows that he had only faith toward God. As in according to the three conditions it is really hard for us if we think of the ministry but Bakht Singh had the faith in Him and he worked and showed from his life. Praise the Lord!

  9. As much as you have devoted your time to this man's life history and to his work, so do I enjoy reading your blog on Bakht Singh's life. I was just reflecting when you mentioned that "his ministry was so fruitful that soon many churches were planted in the province of Sindh and Punjab." Then I read that he was a man of prayer and he did his ministry with much prayer and fasting.I often asked myself how much have I fasted and prayed for my TAM ministry? Was I doing it just for the sake of fulfilling my course requirement? It's a good biography to reflect back on how often I carry on my ministry. Indeed, an inspiring one brother!

    1. thanks for commenting, yes you are right, sometimes we are doing efforts but the power of prayer is not really behind it to make difference, our prayers shows our sincerity for our efforts and concern as well as the burden we have for the souls and for the Kingdom of God. To bring real change we need to have sincere and devoted man of God. Thanks for reflecting, may God bless you and your studies as well as ministry.

  10. Kuya,
    Good info.
    Truly that God raises people for the expansion of His kingdom.
    Our talents and gifts are to be use for His glory, and we must obey Him.
    God bless you,

  11. I praise God for the life of Bakht Singh for his tenacity and burning commitment. Today, all missionary efforts gives priority to the 10/40 window where Pakistan lies at the heart of the window. We are not clueless, nor without foothold in the 10/40 window. It is because a man, among the many faithful men of God by the name Bakht Singh, had sowed the seeds of the Gospel during the tumultuous times when being a Christian, and much more a minister, would mean death. We can cry with all the household of faith, both now and then in triumphant jubilation, "Gates of Hell can never prevail against it" for it was founded on our Lord Jesus Christ, our eternal Rock. May God send more Bakth Singh to reap the grains ripe for harvest.

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  13. Indeed, life fully dedicated to the creator is a life of sacrifice and fulfillment. Nice job kuya! Are you one of the recipient of his ministry? If yes, how did his ministry reach out to you and your family or community? - Ramcel

  14. Kuya Naushad, this is a nice picture of how God uses missionaries to spread his Word through each generation to all nations .

  15. God Works in ways we cant even imagine.

  16. The life of Bakht Singh is a picture of a modern Apostle Paul. he totally emptied himself for the cause of the gospel in Pakistan. God sees all his work and I believe He will honor Singh's efforts and obedience in bringing Jesus Christ in the lives of the Pakistanis. One day many Pakistanis will thank him for his missionary works. :-)

  17. The life of Bakht Singh when he was still alive doing the ministry was a life worth emulating. His dedication, faith and obedience to God has indeed touched many lives. God bless!

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  19. I was moved by his life especially when I read that he worked with the people who needed help not only in their spiritual life but with their other needs. His heart in treating people equally is one of the things I admire in him. His life is an example of living a life that is serving God through serving the people. Thanks kuya for sharing it! :)

  20. Bakht Singh is a good example of a Christian worker because of his full dependency to God. Now a days only few might follow this example but God is soveriegn and powerful to send workers to preach His Word to the ends of the earth.

  21. best website for late brother bakth singh is you can listen his messages songs books sister assemblies websites
    this is bro prabhudas bhooshi chicago usa