We serve in urban Bangkok, where less than 1% are followers of Christ and there is a great need for discipleship and church planting. Our ministry is focused on gospel-shaped discipleship, spiritual formation, leadership development, and church planting amongst the globalized demographic in the city.
We have found an over-emphasis on leading people to salvation in Christ over faithfulness to the Great Commission. Our ministry loves to see people saved, but our passion is to see people become disciples that make disciples.
In partnership with a historic urban church in Bangkok, the oldest diaspora congregation globally, we are pioneering a new congregation focused on theological, spiritual, and ministry formation. We see a critical need for a holistic approach to discipleship that focuses on transformation rooted in the power and presence of Christ in the life of individuals and the church.
As an outflow of doctoral research, I discovered contextual needs of discipleship that address the obstacles to growth and maturity in leaders. In implementing a learning community around Gospel Theology, Personal Storytelling, and Active Presence, we have observed transformation and shifts in this community of leaders.
When we just began partnering with this church, I recognized the faithfulness and the love of Christ in the leaders of this congregation. However, there was one woman who stuck out and I learned that she served diligently and reached many people. I asked her, “How many people are becoming disciples of Christ?” She responded with surprise and confusion and asked, “What do you mean?”
Over a year later, as she joined our learning community, she shared how she experienced revival and transformation. Her experience was of newfound freedom to serve God not out of duty or responsibility, but out of great love for God and wanting others to deeply experience God’s love and grace. As she joined a new training module I developed specifically to equip leaders for health and renewal, our first session she asked, “What is your role in the mission of God?”
She was the first to respond with a hearty excitement, “To make disciples of Christ!”
We continue to walk together as a community to form leaders with a clear vision and purpose to lead others to the presence and power of Jesus Christ.
This learning community impacted 40 leaders and we hope to see it reach and form new emerging leaders for the sake of the Gospel for this great city of Bangkok.
My doctoral research and the Spiritual Formation Ministry of UWM have played a critical role in my walk with Christ. For many years, I grew in theology and ministry. Yet, the focus was my heart/spirit and my story over the past four years. I experienced newfound love for God, growing in my heart and understanding what it means to be a beloved son of God in Christ.
What are lessons you have learned from your ministry experience?
Discipleship is an intentional relationship that focuses on growing in maturity in Christ through connecting individuals to the power and presence of Christ.
The greatest obstacle to growth is an unresolved shame, which can only be healed by the power of the Gospel and walking with them in the so-called valley of the shadow of death.
Church planting provides a luminal context where new ways and means of discipleship can be innovated and tested.