New Delhi, India
Biker-artist-photographer-pastor is how one would describe Joshua Koodathinal John. Life is full of creativity and unexplored avenues for this talented young man.
What is your profile, your formation, ideology, calling etc?
I grew up in rural UP and spent my teenage years in Woodstock School, Mussoorie where my creativity was nurtured and my love for the Himalayas began. In St. Stephen’s College I received Christ as my Lord and Saviour because I realized that productivity and profile could never remove the burden of shame and guilt in my heart. That peace with God is only possible when I receive the work of Christ on the cross on my behalf. It wasn’t a dramatic conversion but I knew I was no longer sitting on a fence. Countless leaders and friends helped me along the way, especially the local church community that I am currently leading. At the outset when I made the decision to be a pastor things were not very promising. It was not as glamorous as the advertising world that I was headed towards. I worked in a leaky basement where our church met. But what kept me going was an inner conviction that this is what my Creator designed me for. To serve the people of New Delhi in whatever way I knew how. So I wrote poems, gave talks about creation after motorcycle trips to Ladakh, painted and held exhibitions, preached on Sundays and did anything and everything with the message of the Gospel as the foundation and center.
What is the message of the Gospel?
The Message would be that God is not only loving He is also just. The Good News is that we have free access to this grace encounter. This needs to be presented and made known in all humility and creativity to all the people of India.
Who’s your audience?
My target audiences are the 15-35 age groups. I do not address the church as much as the city I live in. This equips those in the church to address people in their own sphere of influence. The point is to help everyone understand their own unique gifting and how to collaborate together as one team. Not seeking our own glory but doing things (whatever they may be) ultimately for the glory of Jesus. Not fans of Jesus but friends and followers who embrace the shame of the cross. Not a church directed by human wisdom but a church dedicated to God.
Are you an expressionist in your art?
Yes much of my art would be viewed as expressionist but I experiment with various mediums and styles keeping the message in mind and am not too mindful of which textbook art term it comes under. Currently I am working on a 2 year mixed-media project for an art exhibition called ‘The Scandal’ that will use popular roadside elements to describe grace, the last supper, and the goodness and absurdity of the Gospel. I have been motorcycling for over a decade and it has fueled much of my creativity on canvas, film and talks. My adventures actually revive me to serve better as a pastor because it brings me in contact with all sorts of people and takes me right into God’s creation. By starting a city-centered group like Delhi Bikers Breakfast Run, I want to express my love in the best way I know how. Freely sharing what I love doing with others. Currently we are 2300 bikers strong.
What is your message to the youth of this Nation — 550 million under 25?
My message to our youth would be — seek and you will find. Do not settle for mediocrity in your life. God has created you for an authentic relationship with Him. That relationship is what enables you to make sense of life and beyond.
What has been your biggest achievement?
Achievement hints of having ‘arrived’ and I personally have not arrived in any area. I am a pilgrim who is still learning. I am being led by my loving Lord Jesus and also inspired by my gracious wife Asha. There is no achievement higher than the pursuit of loving God and loving people.