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Where To Start Thailand Oct 25

The meetings of the Theological Commission of the WEA have concluded. The Genral Assembly lies ahead. I will post the short summary on holistic ministry when I have a copy.

The meetings of the Theological Commission of the WEA have concluded. The Genral Assembly lies ahead. I will post the short summary on holistic ministry when I have a copy.

Yesterday the WEA TC hosted a first time gathering on holistic ministry at the Baptist Theological Seminary in Bangkok. It was the first time a group of theological schools here had met together to discuss common ministry concerns. The key part of the session involved two papers, one from a Kenyan (James Nkanshah) and another from a British representative (Justin Thacker) on holistic minstry and evangelcialism. The first paper looked at the question from an African viewpoint. The second dealt with the history of the discussion in evangelicalism since Lausanne 1974. The key point here was that rather than thinking in a technocratic way about what kinds of activities the church should be doing, the better way to engagement is to challenge the church to be the church- to love God and one’s neighbor concretely, showing the community God builds. It is an important concept.

This was followed by workshops on child exploitation, AIDS/HIV ministry, corruption and politics, and ministry to women caught in the sex trade business and wanting to get out. Our time was short, but the discussion was quite lively, especially in the last area where Thai churches, though small, are trying to come to grips with what they can do on small resources. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to know where to start when the taks is so huge. One brave couple has started a business hiring these women to sell jewelry so they can earn a living, have self respect, and leave their former vocation. This means getting the women who wish to leave placed. They have a waiting list of women seeking placement and some means of community support. Another part of the discussion was about how many men make use of these services here (as high as 80% at one thime in their lives). What can be done with men was another point of discussion. What churches can do with usually very small and limited resources was also a concern. Where to begin? Do churches even know what it takes to follow through? It was fascinating just to hear the conversation begin about how to minister in a dramatic way along new paths of using community to help address a deep societal issue with the healing a Christian community can bring. Kudos to the couple who have launched this effort. The wife gave testimony that three year ago she never would have dreamed she’d be doing this. All of this reminds me how deep the needs in our fallen world are. Preaching the gospel and showing the gospel belong together in healthy communities willing to risk stepping out and engaging.

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    Gary Johnson - Necklaces for Men

    Interesting discussions.
    Interesting discussions. It’s good that the different theological schools are merging towards common goals. Thailand has some really serious juvenile concerns which need immediate attention. This is a good step towards saving the Thai youth and eventually, in other nations as well. While poverty may be the primary root of the problem, I think that through these collaborations, the schools can come up with educational programs aimed at steering away the youth from vices.

    May God continue to bless us all.

    Gary

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