Guidelines for Transition into Thai Ministry

1) Forget everything you’ve ever learned. All your assumptions, preconceived notions, and opinions about how ‘ministry’ should look here.
 
2) Be a learner, not a teacher. This is hard after deputation. It’s especially hard for Americans.
 
3) Realize that asking direct questions to Thais will rarely give you anything but an affirmative answer.
 
4) Remember that at this point in time, the Thais will say or do anything to please you.
 
5) Even the best Thai English speakers often only understand a fraction of what you are saying. Idioms and compound phrases pass right by them with little comprehension.
 
6) A Thai person will rarely, if ever, say ‘I don’t understand’ when talking to you. It’s humiliating to them.
 
7) Expect stress. Heat, isolation, no communication, and lots of people will make life tough for you.
 
8) Modesty is a necessity, not an option. By ‘modesty’ I’m referring to the Thai standards of modesty, not American standards. It’s incredibly contradictory to teach religion but dress in a way that makes Thais uncomfortable.
 
9) We might have to limit our liberty to increase our ministry.
 
10) The Thai pastor is the ultimate authority in the local church. Give him respect and take a backseat to his leadership.
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