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Church Planting


In North East Thailand, bordering Laos and Cambodia, lies a region of 22 million people considered to be one of the least evangelised areas of the world. They are the forgotten unreached – the Isaan – where only two in 1,000 people know Jesus as their Saviour.

Australian Pioneers workers Phil and Jenny are launching a new work in this region with a vision to plant simple and reproducible churches with a goal to saturate Isaan with a church planting movement by 2020. This is a task beyond what any human can achieve, and relies totally on the sovereign power of God through his chosen labourers. Phil and Jenny moved to Isaan at the end of 2012 and are seeking to mobilise five new teams throughout this vast and needy region. They are praying for workers to join them. Could this be you?

The Isaan follow a syncretistic mix of Buddhism and ancient animistic beliefs. This holds them in bondage to fear of spirits, dictating a lifestyle where they must appease spirits and make merit in order to earn good favour. 

Only 50% of the population lives in urban communities. The region is mainly comprised of poor rural communities and smaller towns. The dominant industry is agriculture with ‘sticky rice’ as the staple food. Isaan is the driest and poorest region in Thailand (materially and spiritually). Seventy per cent of Isaan’s population is classified as poor and all of Thailand’s ten poorest provinces are in Isaan.

The whole Isaan region has been Satan's domain for many centuries with a history of spiritual oppression – many past attempts to set up ministry have experienced serious attack, which has often resulted in closing down ministry efforts.

Depending on the skills God brings to these teams, Pioneers aims to work with a range of wholistic ministries (where possible with the local Thai church) to sow seed through relationship building. Wholistic ministries provide opportunities for building relationships and outreach and evangelism as a forerunner to planting new house churches. Wholistic ministry in Isaan can include (but is not limited to) care for young mothers raising their kids from unwanted pregnancies, care for orphans (in community-based care), addiction recovery, sports ministry, help in micro-enterprise start-ups. Other possibilities are discipleship and leadership training in the local church, and teaching English in local schools as a bridge to ministry with Isaan children and their families.

If you want to be involved in seeing Jesus proclaimed in this genuinely unreached area of the globe and to engage in building relationships that lead to planting new churches, please send an email to Phil, Pioneers co-ordinator for this new work, at malone.phil@gmail.com.

Want to learn more about Phil and Jenny? Watch these videos!

General vision video

Kalasin (Central Isaan) team vision video (with an intro to the Isaan work)

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