Church Planting in Thailand
Greetings from Mike and Sherri Morrissey, Thailand Methodist Mission.
On November 2, 2006, we came to Thailand with your prayers and support to help plant the first United Methodist Churches in Thailand. There is a great need for churches in Thailand, because less than 1% of Thais are Christian, and everyone needs Jesus Christ, for there is no other name on which we can call to be saved.
One of the first churches we planted was in the city of Bowin. 15 years ago, Bowin was a farm community with no more than 5,000 residents. But then the Thai government made the Bowin region to be a special industrial area, and soon very large industrial parks started to pop up all around Bowin. Soon there were hundreds of large factories surrounding Bowin and the population mushroomed from 5,000 people to over 150,000 people working at these factories surrounding Bowin. The city of Bowin had this many people, but it was totally unreached for Christ, there was no church in this city.
With the help of the members of Pradumri UMC and Pastors Jerron and On, we planted the first church in Bowin. There is nothing more exciting than pioneering churches in unreached cities and towns, because when you plant a church in a previously unreached area, you change that city forever. Once there is a church there, there will always be a witness to Jesus Christ there. And once there is one church there, soon other churches will follow. Pioneering the first church in an unreached area is difficult labor, but the fruit is eternal and is worth all of the effort. Now the people of Bowin have the chance to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ! And it is because Christians in America became partners with Thai Christians. It is this wonderful connection which will reach the Thai people for Jesus Christ.
Thai Christians are eager to share the gospel, and they are great evangelists. Every week in the United Methodist churches, we see people receiving Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord. Every week we see new Christians growing in Christ. It is a great privilege to take part in baptizing these new believers and seeing the joy of the Lord on their faces.
But many, many times, these new believers must leave the church and go back to their home cities, their home towns. And when they do go back, most of the time there is no church in their area. At the present time, 78% of the towns and cities in Thailand have no church and are unreached for Jesus Christ. When the new believers go back to these unreached areas and there is no church for them, many times they grow weak and return to their old ways. This is very discouraging and we see this happen over and over again in all of the churches, even the one at Bowin.
This is another reason why we need to help plant churches. It is our goal to have a church in every city and every town in Thailand, so that all Thai people can be reached for Jesus Christ. Everyone needs Jesus, and therefore we need more churches so there are no unreached towns.
The Thai Christians are not only quick to share their faith, but they are effective at making disciples. Even though the Christian population is less than 1%, the Christian community is growing at a rapid rate here. The Christian community is growing at 7 times the population rate.
Now is the great opportunity to reach the Thai people for Jesus Christ. There is a door that is open, but doors like this do not stay open forever.
We have pastors and leaders trained and ready to pioneer churches. The one thing we lack is funding. We need funds to support pioneering pastors to go into these unreached cities and towns. The first year, we train and resource the pastors to plant cell groups in the new area. They plant 5-6 cell groups and then bring them together to form a strong church. These churches continue to grow and usually within the first two years will go on to become a mother church, planting a new vibrant daughter church. This happened with Bowin UMC. One and a half years after we planted the church at Bowin, we helped them to plant a new congregation in an unreached city in Northeast Thailand called Nonsomboon.
We need your help. We need generous giving to help support pioneering pastors. With your help, all of Thailand can be reached for Jesus Christ, and soon there will be a vibrant church in every city and town in Thailand.
We thank Bishop Davis and all of the Christians of the Kentucky Annual Conference for your generous support. We praise God for the wonderful connection that the Kentucky Annual Conference has with the UMC in Thailand. Your gifts to the Annual Conference missions offering will help to plant United Methodist Churches in Thailand in unreached towns and cities. Thank you for making an eternal difference for the Kingdom of God.
Be sure to visit our blog at http://msmorrissey.blogspot.com . Reading our blog is the best way to keep up-to-date with what the Lord is doing in Thailand so that you can keep us and the Thai Christians in prayer.
And also visit the new website of the Thailand Methodist Mission at http://thailandmethodist.org for more information and downloadable brochures.