New Movements to Christ in Thailand
This is an exciting time to be involved in God’s mission to Thailand. More Thai Buddhists are following Jesus today than at any other time in human history! Encouraged by the response, the Thai church is reaching out to their own people, and we are seeing movements to Christ rather than individual believers who have often been isolated from their family and friends who think that “to be a Thai is to be a Buddhist”.
Our Thai partners John and Nok Pramuan, who have been involved in this movement for several years now, report thousands of Buddhist-background Thais following Jesus, powerful miracles including people being raised from the dead, and new churches in towns and villages that have never had a single Christian before. Why is this movement seeing such good fruit? What are some of the keys to its effectiveness?
First, it is a Thai movement, led by Thai Christians rather than foreign missionaries. They are continually thinking and talking about how to contextualise the Gospel to Thailand. What does it mean to share the Good News in a Thai way, so that people understand that Christ is not foreign? I hope this doesn’t make you feel nervous! No, they are not “watering down the Gospel” but rather, removing cultural barriers from the minds of people who have identified Christianity with Western colonialism and have thought that it is impossible for a Thai to follow Jesus. But didn’t Jesus die for their salvation too? Doesn’t He want to transform Thais too into a people who worship and follow Him?
The movement is also centred on obeying the commands of Jesus – immediately. For example, as they teach new believers about baptism, the one who led the person to Christ is empowered to baptise him or her straight away. Traditional churches wait before baptising new converts so that they can teach them the basic doctrines of Christianity. Church-planting movements teach that new converts should be baptised immediately after conversion; otherwise the church is encouraging them to disobey the command of Jesus to repent and be baptised. They train their church members to make disciples by sharing the Gospel with ALL their family and friends, and then to baptise those who believe. So it is not surprising that there are now generations of believers in multiple locations. In the past three months, John and Nok have started new house churches in Suphanburi, Khon Kaen, and Nakorn Nayok.
Signs, wonders, and miracles are happening everywhere. New believers with simple faith begin praying for the sick, and God works with them. As a result of some outstanding miracles, whole villages have often turned to Christ.
The Gospel has been in Thailand for more than 200 years with very meagre results – a few thousand believers out of almost 70 million people. Let’s pray and support these Thai Christians as they work among the Buddhist population. Keep praying for the wind of the Holy Spirit to blow on these movements to Christ until every Thai person has had the opportunity to hear the Good News and become an authentic Thai follower of Christ. May Jesus be glorified and lifted up in Thailand.
Ministry leader involved in training and evangelism.