At the heart of a North American’s identity is self-reliance… In Thailand, the relationship is one of dependency… For this reason, the social network in Thailand is closely knit together. Missionaries should not be surprised when young Thais are asked to accept Christ and say “Let me go back home and ask permission from my parents.” Individual conversion will separate a Christian from the social network and stop church growth. (Mejudhon 2005, 166-167)
Taken from the work of Dr. Nantachai Mejudhon who summarized Fieg’s work in an article that was published in Sharing Jesus Effectively with the Buddhist World.
Implications for missionaries:
- Try to win the the whole family to Christ at once. Talk to them as a family.
- Focus on the men. That is what Jesus and Paul did. Because many times they will be saved “and their house” as they go home and lead their home.
- Don’t try to build a ministry solely out of children.
- Produce materials so they can accurately transport information back to the social network (family, friends, etc.). Tracts, web pages, CDs, etc.
- Have apologetics available to answer the objections that friends are sure to raise that would shake their young faith.
- Be available to go with someone who shows interest and talk with the family or friends.
- Be able to talk in a group and control a conversation
- Have an interdependent church culture to replace the culture that they will be ostracized from when they become a christian.
- Cultivate a loving culture in the church like a family
- Work as a team in ministry endeavors