The National Christian leadership of Thailand has promoted a slogan that represents their vision for 2015.
It is known all over Thailand in every local church. It says,
“I’m going to be one out of one hundred thousand that will reach one million for Jesus Christ by 2015.
(This means they want the total number of Christians to be 1 million by 2015.)
So this begs the question for both Thai Pastors and the missionaries sent to help them,
“How will this practically happen”?
I could spend all of my time trying to do it as one single missionary. A Thai pastor could do the same. This would be impossible for a whole huge denominational team, much less for one person.
Or we could choose to find ways to empower the every day local people and influence the direction of training and practical strategy.
We could teach them to be disciples who disciple others who disciple others…
This is where I have chosen to spend the majority of time and energy.
This is not as easy task, especially when you are still working to aquire a greater fluency in the language and a deeper understanding of the culture, both of which are polar opposites of Western language and culture.
Someone who is attempting to lead change in this area must also understand
- what has already been attempted in the past and why it may have failed,
- what is currently happening and why it may or may not be enough, and
- what road blocks are keeping things from happening that desperately need to happen for this vision and more to come to pass.
Because of these realities on the ground, the missionary who is keen to make a difference must first take the role of learner before he can move on to be a collaborator and helper of other people’s ministries. From this season, he can learn alot.
Some organizations designate the first two years in a country like Thailand just for language and culture study alone. I have chosen to mix them both with practical work which has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Eventually as the picture become clearer, the missionary can move on to being a consultant, an effective equipper of the local believers, and a catalyst for change in his given spheres of influence.
Whatever role he or she chooses to take, it really cannot be an effective role unless it is diligently working to provide a solution to practically empowering and equipping the 98%.