Many church planters are where you might least expect them. They’re a normal family in the neighborhood with regular jobs and a unique calling to serve the Lord. World Impact helps start church-planting movements by identifying these leaders, equipping them with the training and resources they need, and commissioning them to do what they do best. One of these leaders is Pastor Prodip Das, an Uber driver and church planter in Queens, New York.
The name “Prodip” (PRAH-deep) is Bangla for “lamp.” He’s not sure why his parents named him this, but perhaps it was because they were part of the .3% Christian population of Bangladesh. His grandfather converted from Hinduism and experienced torture and discrimination as a result. Since then, his family has carried the lamp of the Gospel into their community. His father was a pastor and taught Prodip about Christ; however, Prodip did not embrace the Gospel for himself until he was 18.
While in Bangladesh, Prodip served as an elder in a local church and lived in the church building for three years. The neighbors were Muslim extremists who threw garbage into the church daily. “We kept to ourselves and cleaned the garbage silently. That way we survived,” he said. It was during this time of social and psychological persecution that he felt a special call to preach the Word of God.
Pastor Prodip moved his family to Queens, New York, to pursue an education in Christian theology and ministry. There are entire Bengali neighborhoods in Queens lined with restaurants, markets, wedding venues, clinics, money transfer offices, immigration services, hair stylists, and mosques, all forming cities within a city.
Just as in Bangladesh, there is a small number of Christians among Bangladeshis living in New York. They work long hours, serve in small churches, and share the hope of Jesus with their neighbors. While serving as associate pastor at Bangla Bible Church and earning extra income as an Uber driver, Prodip achieved a Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Ph.D. in Christian theology and Ministry from King’s College and Newburgh Theological Seminary.
“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. We need laborers to train the people, so that they can reach out the Gospel of Christ with the Muslim people and Bengali people. I'm asking for the support for the Evangel School of Church Planting and World Impact, so that we can do a great thing for the Kingdom of God.”
A fellow Bengali church planter, Pastor Joseph Biswas, recruited Pastor Prodip to become a certified Evangel Dean through World Impact’s Evangel School of Church Planting. He used his certification to start the Evangel Bengali School of Church Planting.
“Our goal is to train leaders to plant churches and preach the Gospel in their own locations,” said Pastor Prodip. So far, the Evangel Bengali School of Church Planting has hosted five training events with 45 leaders. Through the ministry of the first group of church planters, 40 people have come to Christ and been baptized. Recently, another 39 people were baptized. Six churches have been planted. By strategically placing trained church planters in different corners of Bangladesh, Pastor Prodip has a goal of planting 40 churches in Bangladesh by 2025.
The ministry of Pastor Prodip Das is further proof that identifying leaders, supplying them with the training and resources they need, and supporting them while on mission is how church-planting movements begin. “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. We need laborers to train the people, so that they can reach out the Gospel of Christ with the Muslim people and Bengali people. I’m asking for support for the Evangel School of Church Planting and World Impact, so that we can do a great thing for the Kingdom of God.”