Church Planting Among the Ethnic Thai People

church-planting-among-thaiThe Church of Jesus Christ in Thailand has had an interesting history. There were around 1500 men and women that converted to Christianity in 1554. Little more is recorded until European missionaries arrived in the 1800’s. Two experiences illustrate the Christ-resistant nature of the Thai culture and religion. Congregational missionaries arrived in 1831, and withdrew in 1849 without a single convert. In 1840, the Presbyterian Church began working here, with their first Thai convert 18 years later.

Our family’s burden for church planting grew out of my two years of training IGo students to teach English. We saw the IGo Sunday services as a blessing for staff and students, yet some of our English-speaking Thai friends who came to visit confessed that they rarely understood more than half of what was being said. Although there are some Thai Christian churches in Northern Thailand, especially among tribal minorities, we heard God calling us to engage in planting churches among the majority of ethnic Thai people, where Bible doctrines are taught in their completeness in the Thai language.

Lest you wonder why God would want foreign church planters to engage in the work here, the statistics from 2008 reveal that this country with a Buddhist majority of over 65 million people has only 322,000 Christians. It is estimated that over 23 million people here have no Gospel witness at all!

Currently, we as a family are involved in full-time language learning and culture study. Even though we’re living nearby IGo, we’re in the middle of a Thai neighborhood which brings us into close contact with the lost that Jesus has commanded us to take His message to. To com- press our goal into simple steps – we will seek out interested Thai people who desire to study the Bible, who come to an understanding of sin and salvation, repent, and submit to Christ’s Lordship. We will disciple them, helping them to grow in Christ, showing them that the disciples of Jesus go out and find more people who want to be disciples, so that the church will reproduce itself and grow. This can sound so simple, but without the Holy Spirit to breathe into it, nothing will happen. We want to be listening closely for the Spirit’s direction. Pray not only for the Spirit to guide us, but that He will draw many in Thailand to Himself for His glory!

By Duff Browne (I Witness News/Spring 2011)

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