One of the main themes of the blog this week has been the worldwide cell church movement and its incredible ethnic variety.
I was quite surprised on Wednesday night when Timothy Jeng, Thai pastor and leader, walked in my home and said, â€œI know you, Joel. I was your translator for your cell seminar in Thailand in 2000, and we had dinner together in a fancy hotel. We use your books a lot in Thailand and are part of a growing cell church movement in the country.â€
Ugh. . . I politely nodded while furiously trying to think back at where Iâ€™d seen his face.
Timothy and his wife, Rex, were in my home to kick off our annual mission conference at Wellspring. Yet instead of sending missionaries, the Christian and Missionary Alliance decided to send a national leader from Thailand this time. And what a national leader! Timothy speaks six languages, pastors the largest CMA church in the country (360 members and 20 cell groups), and heads up the Thai unity vision to plant a church in every district by 2010.
Thailand, a graveyard for missions and missionaries for the last 100 years is finally opening up to the gospel. God is using Cell church ministry as one of His key strategies in the country.
I asked Timothy about the resurgence of the cell movement in Thailand, and he reflected on the maturing of cell ministry over the years. The first major impact was the incredible growth of Hope of Bangkok, a pure cell church and the largest church in Thailand with 5000 people attending. The second impact was from Singapore. Lawrence Khongâ€™s seminars (Faith Community Baptist Church) were helpful, but even more fruitful were the practical seminars and workshops from Trinity Christian Centre, also from Singapore. Yet, more recently Thai pastors have been networking together under the umbrella of Ben Wongâ€™s Cell Church Mission Network. When I attended the CCMN conference in Indonesia in 2005, the largest delegation was from Thailand (about 75 pastors and leaders), and in 2006 the conference was held in Thailand!
As we gathered that evening to hear Timothy and Rex speak, we heard amazing stories of physical healings and power encounters that are taking place across Thailand. God is moving in Thailand and throughout the world, and we can rejoice in His handiwork.
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