Manohar Paul lives in Gurgaon, India. He and his wife Sneha work full-time for G.O.D. India serving as cultural liaisons for our development work in the region. (What does a cultural liaison do for G.O.D. Int'l? Read here.) In addition, Manohar aids in the facilitation of educational and arts-based opportunities for young people in the region. Manohar is just one of over a dozen internationals enrolled in our online Biblical Foundations class. This curriculum examines passages related to working in full-time ministry. Students listen to recorded lectures and participate in online forums, learning together through facilitated discussion and exploring how to practically implement God’s word each in their own cultures. Manohar shares some of the highlights from his last two semesters of online classes.
What was a highlight that you will take away from the class this past year?
Manohar: In the first couple of classes we studied the qualifications for deacons and overseers, and how we should build people up in the Spirit. The course has been really helpful. I have learned what the responsibilities of each of these positions are, and what is expected from a person in leadership. It has been really fruitful for me to learn the word of God in this way and see exactly what God teaches us about being a leader in the Body of Christ.
What is something unique you have appreciated about this educational experience?
Manohar: As someone who has been in a leadership position before, I have been told what the Bible says but I have never seen people implement those teachings. Most of the time I heard, “It is written in the Bible and that’s the truth”, but I never learned what that meant for practical, everyday living. In the past I have known leaders who knew the word and its teachings but when it comes to practical life they tried to separate this practical life from the biblical teachings.
But here, what really changed the way I see is the example of the leadership and team members (of G.O.D. International) back in the states throughout the time of taking the class. I see their lives and their way of dealing with situations, or how they talk or behave- that was something that really touched me.
I have seen not only those in leadership just teaching, but also implementing exactly what they are expecting of others and it encourages me to live a life dedicated to God. Yes, it really uplifts my entire perspective of how I have been thinking and looking at the leadership in Christianity.
What is it like taking this class with people all over the world?
Manohar: It makes me feel great because I know that I am not all alone here, but that there is a Body of Christ and there are so many people all over the world connected to the same Spirit and learning the same things. One of the best things about this class is at times we have to write something on the feed that everyone can see, and it helps us to know and see different cultures and views and what they have been practicing so far, and it helps us to know each other better. It is so great and overwhelming to see that one word from the class can change so many lives, be it from someone in India or Africa. It is such a great joy to see how relevant the word of God can be for everyone.
Have there been any particular passages that have been really impactful for you?
Manohar: There was one from our early class when the instructor was talking about overseers in the church. It was taken from 1 Timothy 3:1-7. Although this text says a lot about overseers, one particular verse that was an eye-opener was verse 5. It says, “For if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?” I still remember the moment he taught this, I stopped and cried. I had always thought that family must come second to doing ministry. I realized that even in prior years as a son, I had neglected my parents because of my own selfish reasons for wanting to be in ministry. Because if you are young and in ministry, there was a lot of expectations and I was always busy and tied up with my own thing. I never thought beyond the church and what I was doing. I had to think and reconsider, that if I was not caring for my family around me, both then and now, then how can I be learning the word of God?
I’m now learning how to manage my own family and take care of them. In December we went to visit my family, and one day near the end of the trip my Dad said it was the most memorable day in his entire life. So that really made me thankful to God. It has also taught me to take care of my wife Sneha in a better way. This passage helped me to love, slow down and listen to her. This class has been full of really life-changing teachings; it was a really good time.
Interview conducted by: Nick Sherrod