The Mercy Center in Pattaya, Thailand was the venue for a July 30 networking conference which became the genesis for an “initiative to form a regional alliance of like-minded ministries.”
The conference was birthed when Robin Steen, a staff member of Harvest and DNA trainer in Thailand and Myanmar, was asked by church leaders last February to “bring together churches and Christian organizations that are active in wholistic ways in Pattaya.” Local leaders sensed there were a number of churches and organizations with common interests who didn’t have a “functioning network.”
In fact, the regional discussion sparked a broader, national conversation.
“I could see an interest in what we were thinking of doing in Pattaya,” Robin noted, “but more than that, interest also for Bangkok and on a national level. It became obvious that this idea of networking churches and organizations involved in wholistic ministry might be of interest for the Thailand Evangelical Committee (TEC).”
When TEC’s Mercy Track director, Sanya Ladaphongpattana, showed interest, organizers decided to add a second purpose to the original goal. Besides networking Christian non-government organizations and churches in Pattaya, they also invited other interested parties from around the country to observe and to discuss a National Network of Regional Alliances.
Fourteen organizations presented their work and shared contact information. One presenter—the San Jai Network—actually represents some 70 organizations involved with women and children at risk.
The other presenters represented the following organizations:
- Disciple Nations Alliance/Harvest
- Thailand Food For the Hungry
- World Concern
- Compassion International
- Christian Foundation for the Blind
- Mercy Center of Pattaya
- Upland Holistic Development Project
- International Justice Mission
- World Vision
- Compassion of Christ Mission Foundation (AOG)
- Step Ahead
- Think Small
- Boy’s Brigade in Thailand
Following these morning presentations was an afternoon spent in two break-out groups. The Pattaya regional group discussed ways of connecting local churches and Christian organizations. The conversation led to the birth of the Integral Mission Network as a subset of an existing consortium of pastors. Leadership will be provided to the IM by the consortium.
Steen noted that leaders agreed to “continue discussing and forming the network at their next monthly meeting” and invite others who were not in attendance.
The other break-out session was comprised of those from outside Pattaya. This group agreed to hold forums on networking in Bangkok and Chiangmai at the end of November. Between now and then, steering committee members will prepare and distribute questionnaires to pastors and Christian NGOs to assemble information about who is doing wholistic ministry. Organizers hope to develop one or more directories, one means of encouraging the development of regional alliances throughout Thailand.