Tapan Borman: Making Jesus the Subject in Bangladesh
By Carl Stagner
When only about 1 percent of your country’s population identifies as Christian, little else matters. Does the Muslim majority really care about the description over the doors of the church? Are the Hindus concerned with the church’s longstanding Christmas or Easter tradition? Do believers have time to spend arguing over the style of music—or dance? Tapan Borman says No. Jesus is the subject, the focus, the target. Making his name known is what matters, and any method by which they can accomplish that goal is on the table. Since receiving a call to ministry in 1992, the national leader of the Lalmonirhat Church of God group in Bangladesh has been in the change-the-world business. A closer look at the life and focus of Tapan Borman offers a snapshot of transformative ministry possible only when everything points back to the person and teachings of Jesus Christ.
Tapan Borman accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord at the age of fourteen while attending a Church of God conference. After receiving the call to ministry, he served God through a ministry to students in Bangladesh known as the Bible Student Fellowship. Then in 2000, God called Tapan to go back to the community where he was born to serve with the Church of God in Lalmonirhat. Over the years, Tapan gained a variety of leadership skills through formal training and hands-on experience. In 2007, he left Bangladesh for a few years to earn a master of divinity from Union Biblical Seminary in Pune, India. He is eternally grateful to the Church of God for the sponsorship he received to be able to attend with his wife.
Tapan has been married to his wife Shikha for sixteen years. Originally from the Church of God in Siliguri, India, Shikha came to know Tapan when a missionary couple introduced them to each other. Now they have two children, Leah and Nehemiah, who are in ninth and eighth grade, respectively. When Tapan isn’t engaged in ministry work or taking care of his family, he loves to sing, listen to music, and play a variety of games. But Tapan is quite often engaged in ministry!
“We want everyone to know about Jesus, and through Children of Promise and Compassion projects, we are able to do so,” he explains. “Almost all our children and their parents—Hindu, Muslim, and Christian—have heard about Jesus. ‘Jesus is the subject’ is our main theme, and our ministry is based upon it in Bangladesh.”
Like Jesus, who earned the right to speak truth into the lives of those for whom he gave sight, hearing, and new life, Tapan Borman is leading the Church of God in Bangladesh to carry out good works. “There are many challenges in Bangladesh,” he explains. “Bangladesh is a densely populated country, where 88 percent of its 150 million people follow Islam. It is a poor country, and most of the people are below the poverty line and uneducated. They are daily-wage earners, farmers, rickshaw-pullers, etc. Our ministry in Lalmonirhat is very rural, so we also have to help them in different ways, like adult literacy. Sometimes poverty affects preaching because, without food, people are not ready to hear the Word of God. We have to do social activities to reach them.”
Like the Church of God in the United States and Canada, God is also on the move in Bangladesh. There is so much work yet to be done, but Tapan is rejoicing over where he sees encouraging developments. Church planting is one of those areas, as is children’s ministry. “Children cannot enter into legal contracts,” Tapan reflects. “They can’t vote, and they don’t control their own finances. They are of low social status. But 1,700 children are cared for through child sponsorship. We as a church body want to save a child and that child’s family to release them from their spiritual, economic, social, and physical poverty forever.”
When asked how the Church of God around the world can pray for Tapan and the Church of God in Bangladesh, he speaks of the pastors and evangelists who travel—that they would remain safe. He asks for prayer for he and his family, as they often must be apart. And he asks that the Church of God prays for all the believers in Bangladesh to stand firm in their faith, even when persecution comes.”
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