Thailand was one of the earliest mission fields for the Methodist Missions Society (MMS). Starting in 1995, the ministry in Thailand has grown from strength to strength. We now have 28 churches and preaching points.
Our major focus has been in church planting through our community development programmes. One major success is the Vineyard Methodist School, which provides sound education and imbues the children with Christian values.
More importantly, MMS has been investing in discipleship and leadership training for the local pastors and laity as a key strategy for the sustainability of our ministry in Thailand. In line with this, the 13th Annual Meeting of the Mettakij Church Association (MCA) in Thailand focused on the training, equipping, and preparation of future church leaders. Held on 13 March 2018 at Shineforth Methodist Church in Chiang Mai, the Annual Meeting was significant and historic as the fruits of our ministry became evident.
The MCA meeting saw several “firsts”:
- Six Deacons and two Elders were ordained at the same service. They will be mentored by the senior Elders and assigned to the various churches and preaching points.
- It was also the first time in MCA history that women were ordained as clergy – not just one but three! And all of them are graduates of the Bangkok Bible Seminary. They are now serving in our churches.
- The first retirement service was conducted – the Rev Prasert Pornkiratikul retired at the age of 65. He served MCA faithfully even before its official establishment. He was a member of the Board of Directors before joining MCA as a full-time minister in 2004 and took over as the Pastor-in-Charge of Rangsit Methodist Church. Upon his retirement, we wish him well in the next season of his ministry.
We are also thankful to God for an overall increase in church membership. There are now 34 pastoral staff members serving in our 28 churches and preaching points throughout Thailand. We also have two Christian ministry workers serving at Vineyard Methodist School to nurture our students’ spiritual development.
On a sad note, the 13th Annual Meeting was to be the last for our beloved Pastor John Lim, who was called home to be with His Master just two weeks later. The late Pastor Lim was instrumental in setting up several preaching points, travelling and working tirelessly to minister to the people he loved. Even as we mourn the loss of this faithful servant, we remain confident in God’s provision and faithfulness, to provide committed young pastors and leaders to continue his work. Without the commitment of MMS missionaries serving in Thailand, MCA would not have grown both in numbers as well as in developing a younger core group of pastors and leaders.
The team of senior national pastors and leaders will now assume added responsibilities of coaching and mentoring the younger team that is in place. With God’s help, we look forward to becoming a full Annual Conference within the next few years.
Rev Henry Yeo –
is the MMS Country Director for Thailand.
Photos courtesy of the Methodist Missions Society