Causes of church growth in Thailand

 In All

07-08-13-12-34-50-KohlerWhy has the Thai church doubled five times in the last 60 years?

  1. After WWII there were lots of new missionaries coming into Thailand. OMF was one of the agencies that deployed many missionaries in Thailand. Most of these workers went to places and people where the gospel had not been shared. This was tough work but fruitful as churches were established in more places throughout Thailand.
Key factor: Christian workers willing to go to places without a church in order to start a church.
  1. After 1975 the migration patterns changed and rural people started to migrate to Bangkok. Along with Buddhists migrating into the city, Thai Christians were also migrating. The christians shared their faith and started churches in the city. Most of the churches started in Bangkok since 1975 were started by migrants, among migrants. Migrants are more open to the gospel and other changes.
Key factor: Christians changing location is used to create new churches in new places.
  1. At the same time ethnic minorities in the mountains were opening up to Christ in significant ways. The growth of the church among these minorities has been twice as fast as among the Thai. These animist peoples faced lots of pressure on their way of life due to communism, war and modernization.
Key factor: When people face social stress they are more open to the gospel of Christ.
  1. The gospel has spread through families and clans. The most significant factor in someone becoming a Christian is a family member who has already been converted. Many who have believed in Bangkok have taken the gospel back to their villages. This trend is increasing at this time, especially as the ease of travel to and from Bangkok is improving.
Key factor: The gospel moves along family lines.

“I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow!” (1 Corinthians 3:6)

Mark & Becky Leighton


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  • Peter Martyn

    bA few statistics I have dug up; The good news, Dwight Martin of eStar Foundation reported in 2011 that the growth rate of protestant Christians in Thailand was 5.2% which is 9 times faster than the general population.
    The Bad news; But..57% of all Christians live in the North in 3 provinces; Chiang Mai,Chiang Rai and Mae Hong Song. In the 4 years to 2011 33% of all new church members for the whole country came from Chiang Mai province. But only 2.57% of the total population of Thailand live in Chiang Mai.
    Look at the ethnic mix; as many as 50% of protestant Christians in Thailand are from Tribal minority groups. Ethnic Thai only amount to about 185,000 people (Visser research)
    There is a huge imbalance in where Christians are located, mostly the North and in which ethnic group mostly Tribals. Lowland Buddhist Thai are not being reached.
    Christian have flooded the North where the work is comparably easy and the people receptive and left the North East and South unreached.
    The National church and missionaries urgently need to refocus away from North Thailand to the regions that have most need and least Christian witness.

  • All good facts, but I don’t agree with the conclusion. The Thai Buddhists in the North are still as much unreached as in the rest of the country, and much more so among the Northern Thai speaking community. We still need God to move among the Northern Thai Buddhists, and we need workers that are willing & able to reach them!

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