Understanding the Call of God
Mathew Thomas stepped into full-time ministry with a desire to learn how to work with, adjust to, and adopt other cultures. He began working with the “indigenous and ethnic people group” in the country he felt God calling him to. Realizing that good intentions alone would not help him enter their world or bridge the cultural gap, he started looking for places where he could learn and develop his skills. When he discovered that Asia Gateway Training (AGT), which was held at the Seminari Theology Malaysia in June this year, conducts courses in these areas, he eagerly signed up.
At AGT, Mathew studied the Mission of God in the Bible, the Gospel and Pluralism: Culture and Integral Mission, and Crucial Issues in Asian Mission and Leadership. He said he “enjoyed the fellowship with other experienced missionaries and pastors from different countries,” gaining friendships and an understanding of their struggles and triumphs.
For the first time in his life, he learned about inter-faith dialogues and its potential impact on communities. He now sees all believers as missionaries－called by God to share their faith. Upon completing his AGT course, Mathew intends to return to his work among an indigenous group in the country he was sent to. His ministry is to “encourage and train the local leadership to take forward the Christian mission work in their context.”
An effective method to reach an ethnic group with many oral learners, he shares, is to “reach out to them by telling stories or Visual teaching.” He sees how western teaching has influenced the church and allowed cultivation of “Church Culture” and wants to bring a contextualized system of worship to the indigenous people. Mathew is looking forward to putting what he has learned into practice in himself and in bringing those concepts to the leaders and pastors he will train. He is practising communicating truth in ways others will understand.
Furthermore, he is planning on starting an inter-faith dialogue where he works, concluding: “As believers we should focus on making friends with all different religious group by not judging them and accepting them [as] who they are because they are also made in God’s image…. take the bible verse seriously that Jesus said, ‘Love God and love your neighbour.’”