K. P. Yohannan
|K. P. Yohannan|
|Alma mater||Criswell College|
|Occupation||Founder and President of Gospel for Asia and the Metropolitan Believers Church|
|Organization||Gospel for Asia|
|Known for||Asian Evangelism and an advocate for National Missionaries|
|Notable work||"Revolution in World Missions"|
K.P. Yohannan is the founder and president of Gospel for Asia, a large Christian missionary NGO with a focus on India and Asia. He is a pioneer and leading advocate for “national missionaries”, the formation of missionaries native to the nation the missionary is serving. He is the founder and Metropolitan Bishop of Believers Church, a large Christian church denomination in India. Yohannan is also an author of over 200 books on Christian living and missions, as well as a noted speaker and columnist.
Early life and education
Yohannan was born in 1950 and raised in a St. Thomas Syrian Christian family in Kerala, India. At age 8 he became a follower of Jesus. He was 16 when he joined Operation Mobilization, an evangelical missions movement, and served with them for eight years on the Indian subcontinent.
Through an invitation from Dr. W. A. Criswell, Yohannan moved to the United States in 1974 for theological studies at Criswell College (at the time Criswell Bible Institute) in Dallas, Texas. He graduated with a B.A. in Biblical Studies, becoming the school’s first international student to graduate. He eventually was also conferred an honorary degree of divinity by Hindustan Bible Institute & College in Chennai, India.
Six months into his undergraduate degree, Yohannan became an ordained clergyman and served as a pastor of a Native American Southern Baptist church for four years near Dallas, Texas. In 1978, Yohanna and his wife Gisela started an organization known today as Gospel for Asia, which is based in Carrollton, Texas. In the first year, they helped provide financial support and training to 24 missionaries.. In 1979, he resigned from his church to devote his attention full-time to mission work. In 1981, he started a chapter of Gospel for Asia in Kerala and in 1983 created an Indian headquarter in Tiruvalla. GFA directly supports more than 50 Bible colleges in various countries.
Gospel for Asia
Gospel for Asia would grow to become one of the largest evangelical Christian NGO and missionary organizations in the world. Gospel for Asia adheres to Yohannan’s belief in the efficiency and efficacy of “national missionaries”, or missionaries that are native to the nation or culture being served. The organization’s primary mission fields are those people that live in the “10/40 Window”, referring to longitudinal coordinates consisting of areas in west Africa, India and east Asia.
Yohannan credits his early work in his native India as inspiration for his focus on the poor and underserved in this region. He states: “In my head I knew all the answers, and Bible became the tool of the trade for me that I would use to teach and preach and I was doing very well. People liked my sermons, but finally I said to myself, ‘I’m not the same person I was when the Lord called me to serve Him. I’m not the same person that I was that walked on the streets of North India weeping over the lost and perishing millions and stayed up all night praying and weeping over a world map. The Lord was gracious enough to talk to us very lovingly, and I realized that he wanted me to go back to America and speak to the ‘Body of Christ’ about the possibility of seeing countries like India, Burma and Bhutan, turn to Christ if only they would become unselfish in praying and helping these brothers by becoming senders.”
From its inception, Gospel for Asia has held to Yohannan’s conviction of the use of national missionaries. The ministry discourages direct missions from outside countries or people-groups, but rather trains and equips missionaries from within distinct cultures. In order to accomplish this, Gospel for Asia has over 56 Bible schools in 10 countries, training over 9000 ministers. In all, Gospel for Asia has trained over 16,000 national missionaries.
In addition to training national missionaries, Gospel for Asia incorporates several other ministries such as Bridge of Hope (child sponsorship), Jesus Wells (free local wells), bible translation, radio and television broadcasts, disaster relief and refugee camp aid.
Print and radio
Dr. Yohannan is the author of eight books published in the US and has authored more than 200 books published in India. His book Revolution In World Missions, has over 2 million copies in print.
K.P. Yohannan’s radio broadcast, "Road to Reality," is heard on over 900 radio stations throughout the USA, Canada, U.K., New Zealand and Australia. He has also been heard on the Athmeeya Yathra (Spiritual Journey) daily broadcast for the past 25 years. This is broadcast in 14 nations in 113 Asian languages. Athmeeya Yathra now includes a television station and print media.
K.P. Yohannan is married to Gisela, who served with him in Operation Mobilization. They met in 1973. In 1974, they were married in Germany, Gisela’s country of birth. They have two children, Daniel and Sarah.
The operations of Gospel for Asia and Believers Church were scrutinized after Believers Church, under the guidance of Yohannan, purchased a 2,000-acre (8.1 km2) rubber estate in Kerala, India. Opponents claimed the church had diverted foreign funds to amass land for itself and for uses other than declared purposes. Further, it was alleged that the rubber estate, which Believers Church purchased from Harrison's Malayalam Ltd., was on leasehold from the government and not saleable. Hence, Believers Church was accused of illegally holding government land. At a later time, Harrison's Malayalam was accused of forging their land title, leading to continued debate about the legality of the sale.
Despite the scrutiny, no conviction was secured against Believers Church. The high court dismissed the petition claiming that Gospel for Asia had failed to account for funds, citing lack of evidence as the reason, and Gospel for Asia's compliance with regular auditing. The high court also dismissed proceedings by the state government to take possession of the estate under the claim that it was government land. Challenges against the title deed of Harrison Malayalam were also dismissed, absolving it of allegations of land fraud under the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA). 
Yohannan says that the claims were politically motivated and that the workings of Gospel for Asia and Believers Church are transparent. Further, the rubber estate is an investment to help fund social services among underdeveloped communities and not a personal land grab as opponents have claimed.
There is currently a class action lawsuit against GFA for fraud, and Gospel for Asia denies any wrongdoing.
- Wooding, Dan. "Gospel for Asia's K.P. Yohannan a Quiet Revolutionary". Crosswalk.com. Retrieved 17 January 2012.
- "Believers Church general assembly begins today". The Hindu. 4 January 2010. Retrieved 17 January 2012.
- "Believers Church decries violence". The Hindu. 28 August 2008. Retrieved 31 January 2012.
- Cooper, Bill. “Gospel for Asia President, K.P. Yohannan” ChristiaNet Biographies. Retrieved 21 March 2016.
- "About K.P. Yohannan". Gospel for Asia., Gospel for Asia
- Bergunder, Michael (2008). The South Indian Pentecostal Movement in the Twentieth Century. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. ISBN 0-8028-2734-9.
- New Release Today, A Division of NRT Media Inc. “K.P. Yohannan Author Profile and Bibliography.” 1 September 2014. Retrieved 30 March 2016.
- Wooding, Dan. “K.P. Yohannan’s Long Road To Helping India’s ‘Broken People’.” ASSIST News Service. 14 July 2006. Retrieved 30 March 2016.
- Van Rheenen, Gailyn (1996). Missions: Biblical Foundations and Contemporary Strategies. Zondervan. ISBN 0-310-20809-2.
- Philip, Shaju. "An archbishop's spiritual factory". The Indian Express. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
- Stout, Ken. “Fostering Sustainability and Minimizing Dependency in Mission Finances.” Reformed Theological Seminary Masters Thesis, October 2008. Retrieved 30 March 2016.
- Houston, Rickey. “Loving Your Neighbor: A Guide to Developing and Sustaining Community Service Projects.” Liberty University Baptist Theological Seminary Doctor of Ministry Thesis, March 2013. Retrieved 30 March 2016.
- Jaffarian, Michael. “The Statistical State of the North American Protestant Missions Movement, from the Missions Handbook, 20th Edition.” International Bulletin of Missionary Research. Vol.32, No. 1. January 2008. Retrieved 30 March 2016.
- Cooper, Bill. “Gospel for Asia President, K.P. Yohannan.” ChristiNet Christian News Service. Retrieved 30 March 2016.
- The Christian Post: Crossmap. “Anti-Christian Death Threats Force Closure of Bridge of Hope Center for Children in India.” Crossmap.com. 26 November 2013. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
- Wooding, Dan. “Jesus Wells bring ‘living water’ to thousands in India and South Asia.” ASSIST News Service. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
- Hearth, Katey. “Jesus Wells deliver redemption and safety.” Mission Network News. 22 September 2014. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
- Christian Today. “5000 Jesus Wells Bringing Clean Water Across India and South Asia.” christiantoday.com. 19 March 2014. Retrieved 5 March 2016.
- Yohannan, K.P. (2004). Revolution in World Missions. Gospel for Asia. ISBN 1-59589-001-7.
- Neustel, Lauren (1 March 2011). "Revolution in World Missions (Review)". Online Journal of Christian Communication and Culture. Retrieved 30 January 2012.
- Athmeeya Yathra Official Website. “Athmeeya Yathra TV: About. Retrieved 30 March 2016.
- Bland, Vikki. "Yohannan: Persecution is Part of the Deal". Crosswalk.com. Retrieved 17 January 2012.
- "Cash scanner on evangelist". The Telegraph.
- "Cheruvally Rubber Estate". Believers Church. Archived from the original on 8 August 2014.
- "Probe on into functioning of Gospel for Asia, HC told". The New Indian Express.
- "God's own country". The Telegraph.
- "Madhyamam". Govt files petition against Harrisons, Yohanan.
- "Forgery case filed against Harrisons Malayalam staff". The Hindu.
- "HC rejects probe into income of Believers Church". The Indian Express.
- "Kerala HC quashes govt proceedings". The Indian Express.
- "Harrisons Malayalam welcomes verdict dismissing State plea on land deed". Samachar. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014.
- "Harrisons Malayalam spurts as Kerala High Court dismisses a petition against the firm". Share Market India.
- "GFA says allegations politically motivated". Christianity Today.
- "An open letter to fellow Christians from K.P. Yohannan".
- "Dr. K. P. Yohannan, Metropolitan Bishop, Believers Church, Kerala calls on PM".
- "Letter from George Verwer and Statement from GFA Board". Gospel for Asia. Retrieved 27 July 2016.