They are on their own now, right?
It is a question some have wondered as we joyfully announce the continued growth of several of our Southeast Asian countries, moving from mission district status to becoming annual conferences. The Free Methodist Church (FMC) in Cambodia, Creative Access-MR, Creative Access-NP, Thailand and Creative Access-VN have all continued to mature ecclesiastically and are helping lead the way missionally.
In 2022 the FMC in Thailand helped more than 500 people find faith in Jesus for the first time. The church in Thailand has been enjoying a unique sense of the Spirit’s help and has experienced remarkable growth. Remarkably, the Free Methodist Church in Thailand has doubled annually for the last five years!
Last year more than 200 people found faith in Jesus in Creative Access-VN. Despite extreme socio-political and economic adversity, five new churches were planted in Creative Access-MR, and 81 people came to faith in Jesus.
Amazing! Leaders have been developed, ordained and deployed everywhere in the past year through visionary kingdom strategies.
But do these markers (including annual conference status) indicate the FMC in each country has developed to the point of independence? By no means; rather, these are indications of open doors to greater interdependent partnerships with the worldwide FMC.
The FMC in Asia needs the FMC in the USA, and the church in the states needs the church in Asia. As Dr. Darin has pointed out, “We often think of churches in Asia as being in poverty and needing financial assistance. The church in the West has the resources to meet these kinds of physical needs. Yet, the church in the West itself is impoverished in some ways. It has different kinds of needs that the church in Asia can meet through its unique resources. God, through His wisdom and generous abundance, has gifted different parts of His church differently so that each part can fulfill the needs of others.”
Many of our church-planting pastors and our superintendents across Asia receive a small stipend through FMWM-Asia. While these funds are not intended to meet all their needs, they help offset the extraordinary circumstances many believers face in contexts not always friendly to disciples of Jesus.
So, the answer is no. Churches in Asia are not on their own, and neither are we! We need each other because we are better together!