On completion of 3 years of ministry in SanFrancisco Bay Area as pastor of CTC Fremont, Here is a short interview with Pastor Anil Neturi, a bi-vocational church planter, about his work, life and more. He is a software engineer and a pastor, living with his wife, Kanthi Krupa and a baby daughter, Sharon in Fremont, CA.
Excerpts from our interview:
Q: Tell us about your family/childhood?
A: I come from a Traditional Hindu family. I studied in a school well known for keeping up rich Hindu culture, its traditions and festivals. As part of my schooling I was nurtured in learning "Mantrapushpam", "Suprabhatham" and other slokas by heart. I spent all my childhood with an understanding that life is all about eating, drinking and enjoying. I have two siblings, a younger brother and a younger sister. My parents are currently living in Vijayawada after my dad retired.
Q: So, how did you come to Christ?
A: At the age of 17, I encountered some tough, yet most important questions in life like: Who is the true God? Why am I living on this earth? What happens after a person’s death? As those questions were evoked through the preaching from Bible (of a nearby church) in Hyderabad [www.salemfellowship.in], I started my search for the answers by reading it. Soon, I had come to the realization of an inherent problem dwelling in my heart. If I chose to be true to my convictions, I had to agree that there is a nature to err (or sin) in me which separates me from a Holy God. Also, I was surprised to note that I was finding some compelling answers to those questions. Above all, I was amazed and drawn by the grace of God in how He is extending to me a sweet relationship with Him knowing the real condition of my heart. Thus, I gave my life to Christ in April 1995.
Q: Why are you in ministry? What inspired you to go into ministry?
A: It is the love of Christ that constrains me to do whatever I do in gratitude. Also, after I came to Christ, I have been so well shepherded both by the chief shepherd our Lord Jesus Christ and my mentor Bro.G.V.Prasada Rao that I treasure those great lessons and moments of my life. And with all that, when I see the lost or the ones needing to be shepherded, I try to render the same kind of services, at least in some small measure.
Q: Tell us about your experience planting the church, CTC Fremont?
A: God has been so faithful in blessing the effort and the relationships he has given through CTCF church plant. Today, when I look back, I cannot think of anything else except His faithfulness in being there all through; He has been there through every situation and day to lead. There are times the Lord allows turbulent situations, to help me and team members grow and also to assure us that He is there.
It is a privilege and honor to work in His vineyard and leave an effect on lives for eternity.
Q: What are the advantages and challenges of doing ministry while working a secular job?
A: Church planting/ministry is the greatest place of work as we work for God in His vineyard and for His kingdom which touches lives for eternity. I believe doing secular job and ministry should become so integrated in a person’s life that ministry is no more ‘another job’. Having said that, I do agree that there is always this challenge of being able to balance the limited time of our lives between work and ministry. God has blessed me with a supportive team who fill in various capacities. Identifying people, their strengths and entrusting responsibility prayerfully is the key to success.
Q: What is your guiding principle or verse from the Bible that defines your ministry?
A: This was the verse the Lord gave me as I yielded to serve the Lord here in Fremont. Ezekiel 3:17 - "Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me”
Q: What are the things that you like about Fremont, California?
A: Being in Fremont/Bay Area doesn't make one feel far from home (India). In fact, I sometimes am doubtful if I really am in the US, because of the people and fellowship I have. Above all there are so many Telugu speaking people (and others) yet to come to the Lord here which makes me look forward for Great and Mighty things God is yet to do.
Q: What are the things that you miss about India?
A: My family and things happening in their lives. I also miss my relatives as they are yet to know Christ even as I am looking forward to seeing them come to Christ soon.
Q: What is your favorite dish?
A: Hard to say a specific one :), let me try; “Egg bujjia”
Q: What is one thing that most people do not know about you?
A: My favorite color is white!
Q: What is your advice for potential church planters, especially the ones with a secular job?
A: I truly believe “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few”. The time is so short. Having said that, I also believe any amount of ministry/church planting should be done out of love and gratitude towards the Lord who first saved us and also calls us unto His ministry. It should be a spillover of our utmost devotion to the Lord. Sometimes it can be overwhelming as we look at the great harvest, but it is by looking unto Him and taking one step at a time that the Lord will use us for building His kingdom work in the place that he burdens us with.