St. Paul describes the Christian life as a race and writes, “I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). But what kind of race was Paul talking about? A sprint? A long distance run? A relay? Each type of race comes with its own strategy and approach, and can be relevant depending on our situation. At LF, we have often thought Paul was talking about a long distance relay. Time and again, in our work to make cities better, we have seen the importance of the baton pass: people and organizations coming together to ensure that faithful work happens over generations. Perhaps no greater example of this baton pass is in Delhi, India.
Rev. Dr. Ronald Gier has been carrying the baton in India for many years. Beginning as a church planter in 1975, he has worked tirelessly for spiritual renewal in the area and today serves as the President of One Challenge India, a Senior Member of the International Guidance Team of OC Global, and has been the principal translator in India for Billy Graham. As Dr. Gier watched the population in his beloved India grow, social problems metastasize, and cities seemingly spring up overnight, he knew the importance the next generation of leaders would play in shaping ministry and making India better moving forward. Fortunately, he needed to look no further than his son, whom he handed a baton to many years ago.
Abhishek Gier and his wife, Angelika, began the Catalyst Leadership Foundation (http://catalystindia.org) eight years ago to help build a Resurgent Delhi where people are empowered, educated, environmentally conscious and leading economically sustainable lives. They achieve this through an exquisite array of programs ranging from the provision of homes, education, and life-sustaining skills for trafficked Dalit girls (designation for a group of people traditionally regarded as untouchable in the Indian caste system) to employment initiatives to fostering conversations between disconnected groups in the city. Through these programs they are running the “race” with passion.
Dr. Gier was visiting the LF offices in the States a few weeks ago and stated, “What Abhishek and Angelika have done in Delhi is what I want to help others achieve in cities throughout India.” The Gier’s are running the race that Paul describes: passing the baton, one to another, for the renewal of cities in this great country and beyond.