Sharing the Gospel with Families in Thailand

A well known Thai pastor was introduced to Jesus while studying abroad. He embraced salvation and was discipled apart from his family. When he finally wrote telling his parents he was Christian they were horrified. “Son, how could you make such an important decision without the family?” his mother lamented.

His situation is common. Most Thai come to Christ apart from their families through private conversion followed by a shock announcement sometime later. As one Western author comments, “Individual conversion separates Christians from their social networks and stops church growth.”

According to the Thai pastor mentioned above the end result is tragic. He has stated publicly, “We win one weak convert and gain 200 strong enemies from the new convert’s social networks.” Hard words, but spoken by someone who has the right to instruct us.

Can “making 200 enemies of the gospel” be avoided? What if families don’t want to believe together?

Somdee’s coworker June wanted to know more about Jesus. Rather than talk to her alone Somdee instructed June, “Gather your family and I will visit your home.” So June gathered her husband, three children, parents and two uncles. After Somdee shared the gospel message June’s parent’s replied, “We’re not ready to believe but it’s a good message; if anyone in the family wants to become Jesus’ disciple go ahead.” June and her husband did, and Somdee continued to disciple them in their home where the parents could see what was going on.

Throughout the Bible God works with family units. Noah’s whole family entered the ark. Angels tried to save Lot’s entire family although the son-in-laws rejected that help and died. Rahab’s entire household was spared at Jericho. Jesus too was concerned for families; he instructed his disciples to stay in “homes of peace.” From these home they shared the gospel with the entire family and others in the nearby community. To reach Thailand with the good news we would be wise to follow cultural and biblical patterns of working with entire families.

Please pray for the gospel message to be shared with family units throughout Thailand.

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