Bill Thomas, France
Bill and Marion Thomas served with International Ministries as missionaries to Europe from 1972 to 1979. Since that time, the Thomases have continued to serve the mission of Christ in Europe and beyond, while based in Strasbourg, France. Bill is an evangelist who has called people to follow Christ in some 50 countries around the world. In 2007, International Ministries accepted an invitation from the Federation of Evangelical Baptist Churches of France to re-appoint Bill for service training Federation pastors and lay leaders to do evangelism more effectively. Bill is jointly appointed by IM and the Bill Thomas Evangelistic Association, and is able to accept invitations to do evangelism and leadership training also with groups beyond the French Federation. Bill writes:
The French Baptist Federation is faced with an acute shortage of pastors. One such church is the Baptist church in ANNECY, a beautiful town near the Swiss border. This church was started several years ago but today it has only 30 members. They don't have a building of their own, but are allowed to use the facilities of the Seventh Day Adventists two days a week.
The previous pastor who had some personal, unsolved issues stayed less than two years.
I spent a recent weekend there, sharing some of my experiences and preaching at the Sunday service. I am planning to return for some teaching seminars next year. I thought that it would be just the young people who would want me to come back for these seminars. But as I discussed it with the other church members, they ALL want to be in on it. Hopefully by then they will have a new pastor.
There is more: There are seven other protestant churches in the town. It may be that when I return there the first week in January, I will meet with the other pastors and discuss plans for an evangelistic campaign. Our main concern will be for the follow-up.
This fits in well with another event I have just been part of this week, namely a consultation in Paris on church planting. This was organized by the National Council of Evangelicals in France (CNEF). It is made up, not of individual churches but of "Unions" (denominations). The French Baptist Federation is a member. The goal is to plant one church for every ten thousand inhabitants! When I first heard this, I had to ask for a repeat to make sure I had heard correctly. With a severe shortage of pastors and pastoral candidates, it is going to be a long, up hill struggle. There is a great need for missionaries.
- Pray for me as I continue to serve in this needy field.
- Also, please be aware that with the declining US dollar we are all facing some very tough times. Pray for God to supply every need.
- Pray for God’s Spirit to move upon the people of France and draw them to Christ as believers reach out to them.