My Retrospective on the Life of K.P. Yohannan (Metropolitan Yohan)

David R. Mains

May 10, 2024

It hasn’t been a full day yet since being told the news that K.P. Yohannan died.

As I sit at my desk and record my thoughts, I am fighting back tears. I sense I am still in shock.

I believe I am one of the few who still called him K.P. It’s how he introduced himself some decades back when we first met. As a young man he had asked me for time to share his dream of seeing Asia reached for Christ. He was also convinced that the mission strategy needed to transition from Western missionary leadership to one of national converts taking on that role in the near future.

Metropolitan Yohan

K.P. Yohannan (Metropolitan Yohan) and David Mains as young men some five decades ago

What he excitedly talked to me about was later spelled out in detail in his groundbreaking book Revolution in World Missions.

He told me that he called his embryonic mission Gospel For Asia. “Why don’t you call it ‘Gospel for India’?” I suggested, sensing that his choice of name sounded a bit grandiose. He pushed back hard, explaining that his calling was bigger than just one country—even though his India homeland was soon to become the most populated nation in the world.

Before his death, he had characteristically added a second continent—Africa—where his thinking and actions would once again have a significant impact.

Before Jesus ascended to heaven, He told His twelve disciples that their job was to take His Kingdom of God message to all parts of the world. How overwhelmed they must have felt. But that’s what they did!

K.P. was up for that same kind of challenge, and what he accomplished on behalf of our Lord was nothing short of mind-boggling.

I consider myself fortunate to have known this man for a span of five decades.

So, in a few words, how might I describe him to someone who didn’t have that privilege?

He was...

  • A most remarkable visionary
  • A speaker who could stir your very soul
  • A strategic thinker
  • Someone who still believed in miracles
  • A prolific writer
  • A truly remarkable fundraiser
  • A man who laughed a lot, but was also deadly serious
  • A friend of the poor and the powerless
  • A church founder and beloved leader
  • A modern-day prophet
  • A person of incredible faith
  • Someone who could think God-sized thoughts
  • A man of the Word and of prayer
  • A man of personal integrity
  • A faithful husband, loving father and happy grandparent
  • A loyal friend
  • An enemy the devil hated.

My list is getting long, and it seems like I have hardly started.

I know I am only one of many whose tears continue to flow today.

Thank you for a life well-lived, my friend.

Rev. Dr. David R. Mains
Mainstay Ministries