Pastor. Dr. Reuben M. Sathiyaraj is the founder & Sr. Pastor of Agape Bible Fellowship and Churches who established this Christian denomination in the year 1990. He started his ministry as a 17 year old missionary to the Andaman & Nicobar Islands in 1970s with Love of God motivating him to share the gospel of Jesus to the uncivilized tribal groups.
He ended up doing the pioneering missionary work in Andaman Islands and reaching the “Onge” and “Jarawa” tribal groups for Christ along with his team of missionaries.
In the 1990s, God had different plans for him and led him towards pastoral care and Church planting which he started in Tamil Nadu and later on moved to Bangalore with his wife and 2 children.
Today his ministry for God has been strongly anchored in Bangalore with over hundreds of church plantings, missionary trainings and hundreds of pastors and leaders trained, sent out and planted under his leadership as he continues to teach, preach and train disciples for Christ with Agape as his home Church.
Reuben Sathiyaraj was born in the State of Tamil Nadu. He was born into a poor Christian village family and was the youngest of 6 children: 2 girls and 4 boys. His parents were not much educated but felt it important that their children should be educated well, and all 6 children attended the Church of South India Christian school.
When Reuben was 2 years of age his father died. This event had a profound effect on the direction his life would take and the eventual making of the man: Pastor Reuben M. Sathiyaraj. Looking and talking to Reuben Sathiyaraj, I thank God that he was led into the ministry. He has Vision, Commitment, Courage, and Compassion, all of which are necessary to make Church leaders that God can use.
When his father died his mother dedicated him to God's ministry. This single act at the age of 2 years was to shape and influence his entire future life. As a child and young man he rebelled against this dedication and began leading two distinctly different lives.
To his mother he was the dutiful God fearing son, but inside he was rejecting this dedication to God and was burning with rebellion. 2 of his brothers had entered the ministry, and his mother was confident that he would also enter the ministry, as he was the one she had dedicated to God, not his brothers. However, when his education was completed, he finally declared the rejection of his faith to his mother. There was a terrible row, in which he picked up a huge boulder, threw it at her, and ran away from the house to Chennai, the capital of his home State.
In Chennai he mixed with the roughnecks. He had no direction, no faith, and no family. He started up a business with 2 of his friends who robbed and dumped him. He roamed the streets of Chennai penniless, dejected and destitute. For 3 days he was without food and watched a banana seller, hoping that someone would take pity on him and give him something to eat. He even contemplated eating the banana skin, and the Parable of the Prodigal Son kept running through his head: Luke 15:16.And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.
Deep despair and depression overwhelmed him, and he decided to end his life by walking into the sea. There was a Gospel meeting in progress on the beach as he headed for the sea, and he recognized the preacher who was quoting Ecclesiastes 11:9: Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.
Swallowing his pride, he decided to ask his elder brother, who was a Pastor, for spiritual guidance and help. His brother laughed at him and said that there were already two brothers in the ministry and that was enough. However, he tested Reuben's strength and fortitude by saying that if he went into a locked room, fasted for 3 days, and still felt the same when he came out, he would help him. After three days of fasting, the commitment to enter the ministry was stronger than ever. But when he said this to his brother, his brother flew into a rage, threw a purse of money at him, told him to take the money, and ordered him out of the house. Reuben opened the purse, took only the bus fare of 10 Rupees, and returned the purse to his brother. In the middle of the night he left the house; he was 17 years of age.
Determined to study and preach God's Word, he approached a Bible Seminary in the State of Tamil Nadu, and they agreed to accept him for a 2 year course. He was penniless again, but this time he had direction and commitment and worked as a gardener in the Seminary grounds. In return he was given tuition, boarding and accommodation. After finishing Bible Seminary he was sent to the Andaman & Nicobar Islands for 5 years as a pioneer missionary working among the primitive tribals. He was one of the first missionaries to enter this spiritual wilderness, and the tribal people resisted giving up their pagan rituals and accepting the Word of Christ.
As an angry young man, Reuben had read this same verse, and in rage had thrown the Bible to the ground and stamped on it, kicking it around like a football. Hearing this verse again brought back vivid memories of that previous time, and again he felt very angry, for this time it put doubts in his mind. Already he felt a failure in life and wanted his plan of suicide to succeed. But instead, on that night he accepted the Lord and committed his life for His glory.
Pastor. Reuben with his wife Flora
While all this was happening, thoughts of reconciliation with his mother and family were creeping into his mind, and the harder he tried to push the thoughts out of his head the stronger they became. He decided to write to his mother, and like the Parable of the Prodigal Son she welcomed him home. His faith and belief in Jesus Christ flooded back. He started working in a Laboratory as a quality controller but he felt drawn and compelled to spread Gods word and preach the Gospel. The text 1 Corinthians 9:16 was his inspiration.
For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!
Already, although only a young man he was showing discernment and leadership skills and was in charge of the group, preaching with fire straight from the Lord enabling the tribals to identify all his biblical teachings with their cultures and way of life. Many Churches were planted and are still expanding today.
When he returned to Tamil Nadu, he taught in Bible School and completed a 2 year correspondence course on Missionary outreach. Throughout this time he had a burning desire and vision to preach the Gospel to his spiritually barren land of India. For a number of years he was a roving charismatic preacher, searching out isolated communities and teaching Gods Word. In 1985 he married Flora, and they settled in Bangalore in 1987.
Their two children, Jim Elliot and Sabina Livingbel, were born there. Flora fully supports her husband and assists him in many Pastoral activities. In 1990 he sowed the seeds for the now growing and spiritually alive Agape Bible Church. From a small beginning of 3 families, there are now 1000 believers and 250 children being ministered to and hearing the Gospel. In addition to this large ministry he teaches missionaries and lay leaders who reach the villages, and is responsible for the running of two rehabilitation homes for the rag-pickers and street children and the Eunuch ministry plus 5 growing daughter Churches with 10 co-Pastors.
Reuben Sathiyaraj has empathy with the people, especially the street child and rag-picker. He has the ability to see potential in those people, thrown away and rejected by society. He respects and cares for his God given gifts and motivates his fellow workers.
The spiritual growth in this large slum area of Bangalore is entirely due to the commitment and God given gift of this dynamic and compassionate man, Pastor Reuben Sathiyaraj, the man of the people! Please pray for his ministry.
To God be all the Glory and honor!
Written by Mrs. Carole Edgecox from ISLE OF MAN wrote the above article while working as a voluntary Nurse in Bangalore at the ACC ministry among the Street Children and rag pickers.
Pastor. Reuben with his wife Flora, Son Jim, Daughter in law Molly and daughter Sabina
You can connect with our Pastor on his facebook page here and be blessed by the friendship, fellowship and his teachings of the infallible Word of God.
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Agape Bible Church is an independent, non-denominational Tamil Church located in the heart of Bangalore city proclaiming the gospel of Christ Jesus by all means, at any cost, without anymore delay!
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