Planting churches around new believers – in practice

Following my recent post of this topic, I saw this story of church planting in Cambodia written by Brian Jose on the Radstock website which illustrates what I was saying.

Chan Thon is a former gangster our church team met in Posat, Cambodia in May. His life had been transformed by Jesus, and after meeting our team during our all-day teaching, he asked if we could lead him through a study on baptism that evening.  

“This was a very beautiful message”, he said, after we were finished. “I had never understood the meaning of baptism before.”

Baptism of Chan ThonThe next day, the church walked down the dusty road to the local river, and I had the privilege of baptising him. 

The day after that, Chan Thon left us, along with his pregnant wife, for his home province of Battambang, off to start a church. He had been persecuted there — locked in bird cages for hours in the hot sun by local soldiers — Battambang was always a Khmer Rouge hotbed.  But he knew he had to go.   As the photo shows, already Chan Thon is baptising others as the church grows despite persecution and poverty in Cambodia.  He’d never be accepted by a Western agency — not enough training, not a Christian long enough. But Radstock partner Bunna Yin with Breakthrough Ministries Cambodia is mentoring this young church planter as he learns on the job.  Is this a model for you to adopt in your church, perhaps?


2 thoughts on “Planting churches around new believers – in practice

  1. How would you square the above with the prescriptive in 1 Tim 3:6 – recent converts should not be considered as overseers as there is a risk of them becoming consumed with pride and falling under the same judgement as Satan? There doesn’t seem to be much in the way of wiggle room in Paul’s thought there :)

  2. Hi Rich — Just saw this now, sorry for the late reply. The Cambodian guys have what I’d call an apostolic team (they just call themselves Bunna, Mao An, etc) who are discipling, co-working, visiting weekly, coaching, etc. In Titus 1 when Paul explains the need to appoint Elders on Crete, it seems Titus has this sort of Apostolic role. Correct me if I’m wrong on this, as I’ve not double-checked, but I don’t think it had been all that long since Paul had done the evangelism on Crete, right? For me, it points to the need to think through church network relationships, apostolic ministry, and also the assumptions we’ve made “standards” based on 20th Century mission work.

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