19 August 2010
Asian Christians in ‘Naujavan’ uncover their vision
Sanjay Rajo is a twenty-three year old British Asian Christian from Southampton who attends Lighthouse International church.
He has become one of the main voices behind a radical organisation called Naujavan which seeks to inspire, develop, equip and connect young Asian people who feel they don't belong in Church. Although Sanjay, like many young people in Naujavan, was born in the United Kingdom, his Asian culture is a hugely significant part of his life.
Sanjay says many young British Asian Christians feel isolated in Church today and Naujavan exists to inspire, develop and equip them to keep walking forward in their Christian faith, 'The norm is that in many Asian churches in Britain, young people attending are nominal believers. They will go along out of dutiful respect, but their faith is non-existent. Some of the services are in Punjabi, Hindi or other Asian languages rather than in English, the mother tongue of many modern young Asians.'
Twelve years ago Sanjay's father was convicted to help young Asian Christians feel more a part of their community after hearing members of a talented Asian band say they felt they had no place in their home Church.
'My Dad came to faith from a Sikh background, and gave up everything to follow Christ. In exchange he attended two meetings a week rather than becoming part of a new family.'
So Naujavan meaning 'Youth,' in Hindi, was born. Today, Naujavan holds three main events in London, Oxford and Birmingham every year. Hundreds of young people come to worship, hear the Gospel and get prayed for. They also get the opportunity to showcase creative gifts and talents while making lots of new friends.
'If a Muslim or a Sikh Asian converts to the Christian faith they have quite possibly been rejected by their family. Often, my experience is that most Churches aren't aware of these issues. If there is an Asian young person (aged 16-30) in your Church, it would be good for them to connect with Naujavan. Many young Asian Christians say they never knew there were others like them in Britain until they attended an event.'
Find out more about Naujavan on the web: www.9javan.co.uk