God told the Israelites, “Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt” (Exodus 23:9). In the same spirit, Jesus tells us, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:39). Speaking for Western Christians, I don’t think most of us fully grasp the implications of...
Church planting is the heart of our ministry. Thailand needs the Gospel of God’s grace through Jesus Christ. Many people in Thailand have never heard the Gospel. Over 8 million people live in districts without a single church. The majority of all Thai live in a town or village without a church. Therefore we proclaim the Gospel in unreached communities, and plant churches there.
We focus on Thai Buddhists, the majority people of the country. We live in Thai communities and are part of them. We want to be close to the people among whom we serve. We are not just advisors and trainers, but are involved in grassroots ministry and in this way build up credibility in the community and in the Thai church.
We do not just evangelise and plant churches, we also equip and train Thai Christians to do so. We seek to do ministry that it is sustainable (not dependent on outside help) and reproducible (multiplication is possible). We desire to see churches glorifying God in every community. This can only happen when Thai Christians take the lead, as is already happening most of the time. Yet we believe that we continue to be called to grassroots involvement in ministry. For firstly, there are so many unreached areas in Thailand that pioneer work is still very much needed. And secondly, we can only equip and train Thai Christians if we have relevant experience ourselves.
Our efforts are presently divided into five regions. Each region has factors that affect the practical outworking of our strategy. But the following are shared characteristics of church planting ministry in all five regions:
– We prefer to start work where there is Thai initiative.
– We seek to use methods that Thai Christians can sustain and reproduce.
– We try to let local Thai Christians take responsibility for new churches right away.
– We emphasise that the church is the body of Christ. A building or paid Christian worker is not necessary to be a healthy church.
– We seek to make the Bible the authority for life, doctrine and practice in the new churches.
– Evangelism is an on-going effort.
– We expect churches to expand along lines of relationships.
Photo source: flickr.com:Olearys