Rev. Dr. M. A. Varughese is the Senior Pastor of Bethel AG Church in Bangalore, India, one of the largest congregations in the nation, with worship services conducted in different places and several languages. Rev. Varughese, his wife, Mrs. Aleyamma Varghese and their two children, Abraham and Johnson, with their contagious zest for Christ, have been ministering to the church in Bangalore for more than two decades. A former scientist who forsook all to serve the Lord, Rev.Varughese is a mighty man of God, richly anointed with God’s presence. He is a sought-after speaker both nationally and globally, and travels extensively.
In March 1960, Rev. John Cherian, a faculty member of Southern Asia Bible College (SABC) at that point in time, with the company of a few college students, initiated a ‘prayer fellowship’ in Ganganahalli, Bangalore, which was not far away from the present Assembly of God Church Ganganagar, Bangalore. Prayer meetings were being held by this small group every week. Eventually a plot of ground was purchased for the construction of the future Ganganagar Church. It was Rev. John C. Wright, AG Missionary and Bursar of SABC who purchased the land for the Church. The first major evangelistic event after the purchase of the ground was a conference which was held under a canopy in the summer of 1962; main speakers included Rev. O.V.Dillingham, former Pastor of First Assembly in Bangalore and the Police Circle Inspector of Mysore City Mr. Divakar. Many new converts were added to the original nucleus of the emerging Ganganagar Assembly of God during this conference. After some time Bro. T.P. Varghese got involved in the Church and it was during this period of ministry that Bro. MA Varughese (present Pastor) entered the ministry along with his secular job. Since January 1966, Rev. Varughese had been to Bangalore many times and even lived there oftentimes. But it was only in February 1981 that he reached Bangalore along with wife and 2 sons. He was an employee of the Indian Air force (IAF) at that time, patiently and prayerfully waiting for Gods time and plan.
The Lord has fulfilled his promise and He made me an associate Pastor of this Bethel Assembly Of God Church. Adverse winds began to blow against the Church. Health wise I became very weak as I was suffering from Jaundice. Critics, scandal-mongers, scoffers and the like tried their best to demoralize me. But the Holy Spirit spoke to me very specifically and strengthened me in the Watch Night Service on 31st December 1983. Though satan attacked very furiously seeing the growth of the Church, the Lord protected us that the water might not overwhelm us.
Ever since I became fully responsible for the Church, it has been decided not to involve those who are not filled with the Holy Spirit in any of the Church activities. Consequently, often I had to do such things as from mopping of the floor to the preaching of the Word all alone. But today things are quite different. The Lord has raised hundreds of anointed ones for the various ministries. New outstations were identified and new Churches were established. Souls were saved in large numbers. Today there are several Churches worshipping in different languages. The central district has recognized several of the Churches which were developed from the outstation of this Church.
The time of seven years, from 1985 to 1991 was a period of great growth of the Church. At the same time it was also a time of very strong and adverse winds against the Church. At that kind of a pressing situation the Lord had opened the door for a missionary tour abroad. Pastor A C George of the IPC Church in New York and his sister in Bangalore were the people whom God used as the channels for this. As a result we got some finance. The structure of a two storied building was formed in the mind as there was a clear guidance form the Lord with confidence in Him we ventured to start the construction work in faith. On 8th December 1990, afternoon the Spirit of God asked me if I desired for a higher kind of ministry; if I was satisfied with what I was doing already.
I opted for a greater ministry. Then I was told that I had to face trials, imprisonment and even court cases. But I was also given the assurance of God’s protection and victory. This particular prophecy was fulfilled on the 7th morning of January 1991. The government officials raided my house and took into custody whatever records and documents they could find. Misappropriation of foreign funds was the major accusation against me. By God’s grace no allegations against me stood. Those who had taken me into custody sent me back the same day afternoon. On 14th September 1991, the building was dedicated. But by December 1991 the hall was almost full.
There came the need for a bigger hall to accommodate the increasing number of people. We began to pray for a hall that could accommodate at least 1500 people. The adjacent plot was to be sold which we bought in 1995 and within a year the construction work for the new building started. This was the fulfillment of God’s promise of spreading to the left and right (Is. 54:3). A multi-storied building with five halls got under construction. Once there were 16 services conducted every Sunday to accommodate the growing crowds, we sought the Lord to help us enlarge our boundaries. Now the stage is set for larger plans of God to unfold.
We thank the Lord and express our gratitude to all the Pastors, servants of God for their labor, their vision and also for their priceless contribution for building up this Church.