Last updated: September 12, 2023
Manik Corea jokes that he loved the church before he knew the Lord of the church. As a pastor’s kid, Manik grew up in the church. Yet he was 13 before he became a committed follower of Jesus. As a teen and young adult, God planted seeds that later confirmed a missionary calling.
In 1998, Manik worked for a magazine in Singapore. One day he was invited by friends to a dinner with Rev. Dr. Jon Shuler, founder and leader of New Anglican Missionary Society (NAMS). Over dinner, Manik shared how he had recently completed university studies in London, England, and had enjoyed serving in international student ministry.
“At the end of the meal as we were saying goodbye, Jon looked me in the eye and said, ‘I think God’s got a work for you and me in England reaching the nations.’ I was stunned, but it was the Lord,” Manik says.
Manik accepted Jon’s invitation to intern with NAMS in South Carolina for a few months before he was sent to Colchester, England, to help plant a DNA Networks church with an Anglican pastor and his wife near the University of Essex. At that point, Manik felt he did not know enough to be of use in a church plant in a post-Christian context. “Jon encouraged me that the obedience of faith is proven in our stepping out,” he says. “Faith is really spelled r-i-s-k. I just had to step out, not knowing the culture or what I was to do, really, but the Lord had a plan and was gracious.”
Manik met Enoch, a Sri Lankan grad student. They began to pray together to reach University of Essex students for Christ. They started Bible discussion groups, allowing students – both non-believers and Christians – to share, discuss, and ask faith-based questions without judgment. Manik and Enoch focused on 4 R’s: Raising (our voices in prayer), Rice (eating together often), Relationship (building friendships of trust) and Rescue (sharing the Gospel story). As the group become friends and relationships thrived, international students started coming to faith and attending the church plant in the town.
As Manik continued to serve, God confirmed his call to global church planting in a profound way. In 2000, at a New Wine Conference in Sheffield, England, a national church leader told Manik that he believed Manik was called to apostolic ministry. At the time, Manik didn’t know exactly what that meant. Two years later in Colchester at a gathering of ministers, a visiting pastor from London with an established prophetic ministry prayed over Manik and again confirmed his apostolic calling to the nations.
As God continued to open doors for Manik to share the gospel, he continued to say yes. For 12 years, Manik and his wife Maple lived and worked in Bangkok, Thailand, as cross-cultural missionaries. In 2012, they began to plant All Nations Bangkok, a small yet vibrant bi-lingual NAMS community and church. Having raised up leadership for All Nations, they established a global office and base for NAMS in Singapore. As Global Executive of NAMS from 2017-2022, Manik led the day-to-day missionary and indigenous work in 14 countries as well as partnerships in about 20 other countries with the aim of helping plant new communities of faith through intentional disciple-making.
“There’s an old church planting adage that says, ‘It’s easier to have babies than to raise the dead,’” Manik said. “Sometimes it’s hard to cast a vision for church-planting within an established church because people have gotten settled and comfortable in their community. But a church that does not reproduce itself will eventually die. So making the effort to send and go with a team to another part of the city or state with Christ’s mandate to make disciples of all peoples – it’s a lot of fun and hard work, but it’s a way for the church to recreate itself in new ways.”
Even as he led NAMS globally, Manik also pursued a Master of Arts in Intercultural Studies with a specialization in Church Planting at Asbury Seminary through the hybrid model. This model couples online learning with week-long intensives on the Kentucky campus.
“Studying online while I continued my work in Bangkok challenged me to grow,” he says. “As it is a missions degree, the learning really focused on sharpening our understanding and formation as missionary leaders and disciple-makers in our different contexts. The instructors are top-notch, and I’ve learned so much from my cohort of fellow workers who are serving with or leading new church plants, existing churches, or organizations, or just exploring missional ministry.”
Manik graduated from Asbury Seminary in 2021 and is the Global Hub representative for Asbury Seminary’s Center for Church Multiplication in all Asia. He is now National Director for the Singapore Centre for Global Missions. He serves as Global Consultant for the Diocese of Churches for Sake of Others.
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