STRATEGY TO MULTIPLY RURAL CHURCHES: A CENTRAL THAILAND CASE STUDY By Alex G. Smith

STRATEGY TO MULTIPLY RURAL CHURCHES
A CENTRAL THAILAND CASE STUDY
By Alex G. Smith
OMF Publishers

Dr. Alex Smith
Northwest Director
OMF International

Convinced that Asia is the greatest challenge facing the Church in the 21st century, Alex Smith, with his wife, Faith, is committed to mobilizing a whole new generation of pioneers to reach East Asia’s peoples for Christ.

Dr. Smith is the Northwest Director of OMF International in the USA. He travels and
speaks extensively. Born in Brisbane, Australia, Alex accepted Christ as a school boy. He was trained as a Chartered Accountant and as a pilot in the Royal Australian Air Force. He and his American wife, Faith, met at Prairie Bible Institute in Alberta, Canada.

Joining OMF in 1864, the Smiths spent 20 years in Thailand, serving in pioneer
evangelism, church planting, training national leaders, teaching church growth, supervising new missionaries, coordinating field evangelism and directing the Thailand Church Growth Committee.

Alex earned his Doctorate in Missiology at Fuller Theological Seminary School of World
Mission in Pasadena, California (MA, D. Miss) and his Master of Divinity at Western
Evangelical Seminary associated with George Fox University in Oregon. He also graduated
from Daystar’s International Institute of Christian Communication in Nairobi, Kenya.
He authored two Thai books on church growth and evangelism, as well as several English
titles, including Siamese Gold: A History of Church Growth in Thailand, Strategy to Multiply Rural Churches and The Gospel Facing Buddhist Cultures.

A frequent lecturer at seminaries and colleges, Dr. Smith also teaches courses concerning Perspectives on Missions for the U.S. Center for World Mission. He is adjunct faculty at Multnomah Bible College and Seminary in Portland, Oregon. He served as Northwest Vice President of the Evangelical Missiological Society, and as Buddhist
Track Chairman for Regent University’s Unreached Peoples Consultation. Alex and Faith have three grown sons, Tim, Dan, and Jonathan.

FORWARD

Strategy to Multiply Churches in Rural Thailand should be carefully read by Thai church
leaders and missionaries. It describes years of actual church planting. It is experience, not theory. It tells exactly what happened. It is an accurate, true account.

It is not unenlightened experience. A veteran missionary with church growth insight
describes what happened. His intentions from the beginning were that the Gospel be proclaimed and men and women be encouraged to become disciples of Jesus Christ and responsible members of His Church. As he steadily carried out that intention, in the Thai society he so well describes, he met the successes and failures he describes.

Here we have intermingled three elements needed for successful propagation of the
Christian Faith:
a) A purpose in harmony with God’s unswerving purpose to save men and women.
b) Activities intelligently designed to achieve that purpose.
c) An honest accounting of how well the intention was achieved.

Stated in theological language, this book tells us what methods of evangelism God is
blessing in rural Thai society, in bringing men from unbelief to faith in Jesus Christ as God and Savior, and in multiplying churches.

Good reading lies ahead. I commend the book.

February 1, 1977 Donald McGavran
School of World Mission
Fuller Theological Seminary
Pasadena, California

INTRODUCTION

One of the major tasks facing the Church of Jesus Christ today is to effectively
plant self-propagating churches in the rural areas of the world, especially across the
heavily populated plains of Asia. About 65 per cent of the world’s burgeoning population is found in Asia. Of this 65 per cent, eight persons out of ten live in rural areas. However, less than 5 per cent of Asia’s population claims the name of Christ. Only a few countries are more than 10 per cent Christian, e.g. Korea 14 per cent, Indonesia 11 per cent. In these, as well as the rest of Asia, vast rural populations remain untouched and unevangelized.

A. PROBLEM

Today the continent most ignorant of Christ is not Africa, which, according to
David Barrett, is expected to be called Christian within 20 years. Nor is it Latin America, where the Holy Spirit is gathering large sectors of the human harvest into God’s Kingdom. It is Asia that poses the great challenge for evangelization in our generation.

Now it must be recognized that anywhere people without Christ are lost in
spiritual darkness. They are severed from a vital living relationship with the Almighty. Be they illiterate Indians in the upper Amazon, or cultured elites in the inner suburbs of New York, their condition is the same. Be they educated Africans in Nairobi, or unlearned vagabonds on the streets of India, without the light of Christ they are equally in spiritual darkness. In this sense we may think of Asia, both in its growing urban population and in the masses of its rural settlements, as a dark continent..

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