From a Biblical standpoint, the primary purpose for which the church exists is to build the kingdom of God—to be witnesses of the Gospel in our preaching and in our living—so that a world far from Christ might be drawn into a relationship with Him.
The fact that ICANJ is situated in Hackensack is not a coincidence. Our being here is undoubtedly part of God’s Master Evangelistic Plan to win this city for His Kingdom—one neighborhood at a time—one community at a time.
Which leads us to the ICANJ Heart for Hackensack Initiative—what we believe is our God-ordained long-term local missions strategy for the year 2017 and beyond…
So, what is the Heart for Hackensack Initiative all about?
Based on the 2010 US Census, there were nearly 2,000 Indian Americans living in Hackensack, NJ—likely much more now that we’re in the year 2017—a majority of which are unsaved young professionals, families, and college students from a Hindu religious background. There are few to little churches in the area that can effectively evangelize and disciple people of Indian descent who are by and large Hindi and English-speaking.
And that’s where we as an ICANJ family can fill the evangelistic gap starting with the significant Indian student population in our territory and moving on to the many families that live in the surrounding area.
So, how do we plan to accomplish this mission?
- Realizing we can’t do it on our own and that any attempt to evangelize must be empowered by the Holy Spirit. In other words, it starts with God, and it ends with God. Which is why we plan to launch this mission in fasting and in prayer on first weekend of March—earnestly asking God for the power and wisdom to carry out His mission and for the passion and determination to see it through even when we don’t see immediate results.
- Establishing what we’ve coined the South Asian Student Support Network at local universities—starting with our closest neighbor, Fairleigh Dickinson University—which has campuses in both Teaneck and Hackensack. Simply put, the South Asian Student Support Network will serve as a helpful resource and ultimately as a source of the Gospel through the following:
- Transportation Services: the truth is many of Indian students we seek to reach don’t have cars — which means that if they want to buy groceries and other necessities, they rely on carpooling or public transportation. That’s where we will step in to provide free, scheduled, no-strings-attached rides to Target or Costco or the Indian store to help them get the supplies they need.
- The ICANJ Lending Cupboard: think about the times when you first moved to this country. The reality is many of us started out with humble beginnings, and the same is true for many students. Often, they have little to no money for rent and cram as many people as possible into tiny apartments to get by. Many times they don’t have basic appliances and household goods that we take for granted—things like coffee machines, microwaves, toaster ovens, cups and plates, and utensils—items that aren’t overtly expensive that we can provide as a church family to make life easier. And that’s where the Lending Cupboard comes into play. Whatever items we’re able to donate as individuals and families will be stored and distributed to the students based on their individual needs
- Professional Services: as a church family, with all the diverse professional expertise we bring to the table, we can provide basic career services—things like resume critiquing, mock interviews, and tailored seminars and skill-building workshops—to help students land internships and employment upon graduation
- Evangelistic Meetings — all the services we provide will culminate in evangelistic meetings — where we as a church will minister the Gospel through song and God’s Word with the goal of winning souls to God’s kingdom and discipling them as they grow in their faith. The whole point is to build relationships with people to facilitate a conversation about Jesus down the road