Hope for Thailand
Penetrating the Resistant Masses of Thailand through the Cell Church Model
Alliance Life, 2000
Thailand is one of the most resistant countries to the gospel in the entire world. After 100+ years of concentrated missionary activity (104 missionary agencies are presently in the country), less than 0.5% of the 60 million inhabitants know Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.
and Missionary Alliance in Thailand field
asked me to teach a cell church seminar in February 2000 in order to stimulate
growth. The day before the seminar began, I toured Bangkok (temples, palace,
etc.). Hereís what I wrote in my diary the next day:
I felt renewed power and
authority as I presented my seminar. I felt like I was on a mission from God
to regain lost territory from Satan. With new vigor, I trained the 150
participants to reach their neighbors, friends, and acquaintances. Those who
attended learned how they could penetrate their neighborhoods through the cell
I was especially thrilled to
equip the three couples and one single C&MA missionaries who are planting
a new cell church in Bangkok. This cell church plant is coached by Norm &
Dorie Ford (Norm is also the C&MA field director in Thailand). Itís the
first of its kind in Thailand and a tribute to the growing need for change.
Their goal is to reach the middle-class of Bangkok.
To start this cell church plant,
the missionaries moved into a neighborhood in North East Bangkok in October
1999. They started teaching
English classes within the homes. This led to two cell groups.
The goal is for each missionary
team is to lead and multiply their own cell group. When they reach eight
cells, they will gather them together for a celebration service.
Using the cell group as the
base, theyíre also using a wide range of activity to reach those living in
North East Bangkok: interest groups, cooking classes, Christmas caroling,
Valentineís gatherings (sharing the Christian meaning of Valentineís Day),
and the Jesus video. The missionaries are making non-Christian friends by
serving on Rotary Clubs, Neighborhood committees, and making themselves
available as English teachers. The good news is that their diligent outreach
has already resulted in four conversions. The converts are carefully discipled
in the cell group atmosphere.
The C&MA mission in Thailand
is concentrating resources and personnel in this cell church experiment with
the hope that it will model future church planting and church growth.
I believe in the cell church
philosophy. I do know, however, that the cell church model is not an automatic
growth technique nor is it a magical formula. Many growing cell churches are
located in countries where revival is already rife. I donít expect for this
new cell church to have the same type of dramatic results as we see in other
countries and cultures throughout the world. Why? Because the soil is not yet
ripe in Thailand.
In fact, the church is already
facing opposition. Suspicion is often expressed and some have told their
children to avoid the missionariesí homes.
Family and neighbors have opposed some who have expressed an interest.
The enemyís strategy is to isolate the groups and hinder growth.
Please pray that this cell church plant would grow and bear much fruit in a land of desperate need.