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Church Planting & Cultivation in Bangkok, Thailand

Church Planting Legacies from a Muslim Background Believer in Thailand
Written on Gregg Nicholson, a worker serving in Thailand

On his first visit to Thailand, Gregg Nicholson met Jakraphan, a former Muslim who was studying at a small seminary in Thailand. Jakraphan had left Islam decades beforehand, and was serving at a church in Bangkok. Now, 25 years later, he was married, had kids, and found himself as the newly appointed senior pastor of his church. 

“I had kept up with Jak over the years, and during that time his son, Ben, had graduated college from the U.S., married a missions-minded American girl, and completed his seminary degree,” says Nicholson. 

Not long after, Ben returned to Bangkok to serve under his father, just as Jakraphan had served under the previous senior pastor, and began attending a church planting training facilitated by Gregg. City to City, which focuses on gospel-centered church planting in mega cities like Bangkok, is a partner Gregg works closely with. He serves as a church planting trainer, coach, and city catalyst to help train Thais to plant new churches in Bangkok. 

Finding a church in Thailand is nearly impossible. Just 1% of the local population is Christian, with 6% Muslim, and 93% Buddhist. With only 457 churches in a city of 12 million people, there are more places for prostitution in Bangkok than houses of worship. By comparison, NYC has over 6,000 churches, Atlanta, GA has 4,000. 

“After attending our Church Planter Intensive, Ben felt a strong call of God to start anew church, so he asked his dad if he would help him by sending 25 members of his church over to another part of town to start a new church,” says Nicholson. 

In May 2021 during Covid, a Gospel City Church was launched online. It was the beginning of a new church. Ben didn't just want a building for Sunday worship; he wanted to start a coffee shop to meet people throughout the week, and then to worship there on Sunday. The Coffee Shop at Gospel City is called 34Eight from Psalm 34:8, which says, "Taste and see that the Lord is good." 

Today, there are over 40 believers attending Gospel City. Ben is now serving as a trainer sharing with others the lessons he's learned along the way, and more Thais than ever are hearing the Gospel. Though, the need for church planters continues.  

“Walking with Ben as a church planting coach has been a joy. Recently in talking with Ben, he told me, ‘No one is doing what you all are doing. Most people come and do a short seminar on church planting and then leave.’ It is a privilege to walk with the church planters and provide ongoing training and encouragement. Personally, there is great joy in seeing God speak to and raise up a man with the desire to start a new church in a country where there is less than 1% Christian. It's hard to plant a new church, but the Thais can do it so much better and easier than a foreigner, like myself, who tries to plant a church. To walk alongside Ben through this, and play just a small part in his development is incredibly gratifying. God is good! He is building His Kingdom through young men like Ben in Thailand one new church at a time.”