One-on-One with Bob Craft on Tracking Thailand’s Church Planting Revival

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Several months ago, Christianity Today ran an article on some fascinating tools and work coming out of Thailand in regards to tracking current church planting growth in that nation. According to the article, “American missionary-kid-turned-IT-guru [Dwight Martin] oversees the most comprehensive national church database in the world, with corresponding maps indicating exactly which corners of the colorful Southeast Asian country are most desperate for the gospel.”

He and Bob Craft, Reach A Village founder, partnered to see this tool come to life. Reach A Village is a U.S.-based ministry that supports Martin’s mapping work in Thailand and neighboring countries.Below I talk with Bob about their work and what they’ve seen God do.

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Ed: In the CT article, the author talks about the difference between being led by the Spirit or led by the stats. In your observations, have there been any downsides to this data? Anything you would change?

Bob - Contrast - Someone - Jesus - Eyes

Bob: It is not really a contrast, as someone might think. Jesus encouraged us to "lift up our eyes and look at the fields." Our decisions and strategies should be informed by what we see. Scripture says in Matthew 9 that when Jesus saw the crowds, he was moved with compassion. He always had compassion, of course, but the sheer number of people and their condition "moved" Him to call His disciples into action and send them into the great need with instructions seen in Matthew 10.

We have seen the same response to the data. When people see the vast areas of their own country that are untouched by the gospel, they are moved to do something about it. Dwight's intentions for building the database had the exact same impact. People are moved by the data they see from the database. It inspires vision, informs...
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