We want to thank everyone who has been praying for the first round of training in the Pioneering Pastors Program (PPP). PPP is a project of the Thailand Methodist Mission, with the purpose of training and resourcing pastors to pioneer churches where there are none. At the present time, less than one percent of the population of Thailand is Christian, and one main reason is that most regions of Thailand remain unreached. In fact, 85% of the subdistricts and villages in Thailand are unreached, having no church of any denomination or group. The Pioneering Pastors Program is designed to be a catalyst to help other churches and denominations to plant churches. We are a para-church organization, not a church, so we do not start churches in the name of our own organization. We simply help other organizations to pioneer, with the hope that soon, every subdistrict and village in Thailand will have a healthy, vibrant church, so that all may have a chance to know the Lord Jesus Christ. Because we are United Methodist, UM church planters that qualify, receive top priority over other organizations.
To qualify as a Pioneer Pastor, the church planter must commit to planting a church in an unreached subdistrict. After receiving training, the pioneer receives a Basic Kit, which is designed to help the pastor have the equipment needed for planting cell groups. The Basic Kit includes a used motorcy (a small Asian motorcycle) for visitation, a guitar and case, songbooks, Bibles, and Christian education materials, plus one year of coaching. If the pastor follows the training given and is fruitful, she/he qualifies to receive the Advanced Kit, which is designed to help bring the cell groups together to form a worship service. The Advanced Kit includes a sound system, musical instruments, computer (with Bible study programs), and a video projector. The Advanced Kit provides a boost to the new church and a reward for pastor for the hard work of pioneering. The training, one year of coaching, and both kits cost a total of $4500. If you or your church would like to make a great impact for the Kingdom of God, please pray and consider being a sister church which sponsors a Pioneering Pastor. It makes an eternity of difference when you help to plant a church in an unreached village.
The training that we began this week was in Sriracha, just about 8 miles south of us. Pastor Neo, who serves together with us as a translator, is also a pioneering pastor who graduated from Victory Bible College International in Sriracha. Pastor Neo is re-starting his congregation, with a new move and new direction. We are training members and leaders in his church as well as Victory Bible College students who seek to pioneer churches in their nations.
The training was well attended, with over 30 in attendance. What thrilled us was that there were people from many nations, not just Thailand. There were students training to be pioneering pastors from Nigeria, India, Nepal, Burma, Philippines, and Vietnam. It is very humbling to work together with these pastors who will go back to their home nations to pioneer for the Lord. What a great blessing. We were encouraged by the responses received by the pioneers being trained. We know God will use them to be a great blessing.
Next week we do the second half of the training. In fact, the training given is an abbreviated form of the training we will usually do. We had to edit some content due to time restrictions.
None of those who are receiving any of the resource kits, some because they do not qualify (they are planting a church in a sub-district that already has a church), and others because we do not yet have funds for purchasing the kits. We are praying for God’s provision that we can help to plant more churches in unreached areas of Thailand. And throughout the world, because everybody needs Jesus.