While I had just come back to faith and was starting to grow in my home church, First Baptist Church Murfreesboro, I had never envisioned going to seminary. In need of spiritual growth and understanding, everything pointed me in that direction; however, our family is a single income family with four children. My job was crucial and I could not see how I could possibly attend seminary.
Just when I thought that there was no hope, I was surprised by a flyer about a seminary that would be housed in my church. I found out that classes would be done in intensives on Friday night and Saturday and that the tuition was subsidized through the generosity of grants. I finally got it all together and started my seminary journey at Central Baptist Theological Seminary - Tennessee.
This format allowed me to complete my degree without missing any work or taking too much time away from my family. At the same time, I was able to develop an understanding of how to apply the skills from seminary to my sense of calling as a marketplace minister and allowed me to find ways to execute this ministry. After completion of seminary, my home church ordained me and blessed me in this calling.
I am extremely grateful for Central for the work it has done in my life by providing a thought provoking broad theological education.
Central’s Honorary Doctorate Recipient’s Ministry Continues to Expand
In May 2009 Central awarded Thawesak Mahachavaroj the Doctor of Divinity degree, honoris causa. Central’s board of trustees recognized his years of faithful service to the Maitrichit Chinese Baptist Church in Bangkok, his leadership in the 12th District of the Church of Christ in Thailand, and his concern for the larger mission of the church in the world. In communicating the action of Central’s Board to Dr. Mahachavaroj, President Marshall said,
Your faithfulness as a Christian leader has been affirmed by your Christian brothers and sisters. Your church has recognized your mature wisdom by electing you as deacon for more than thirty years, many of those you served as chairman. Further, it is clear that your leadership is valued by many Christian institutions. It is impressive that you participate in various ministries, but to be chairman of more than fourteen significant Christian organizations is quite remarkable. It speaks of the trust you have earned through the years. . . I am thankful for the joy you experience as a lay preacher, as well. (from President Marshall’s letter to Dr. Mahachavaroj after action by Central’s board to confer the honor)
Dr. Mahachavaroj certainly offers service in a wide range of ministries. At the time of the recognition of his life of service, his ministry of preaching was mentioned simply as a nice little addition to all the other aspects of his service and ministry. In the years since the recognition, however, as various groups of Central students and others have visited with Dr. Mahachavaroj, the richness of his faithful service has become much clearer.
For the past 15 years Dr. Mahachavaroj has been preaching all over Asia and the World. Often he preaches four or five times a month and sometimes as often as seven times. While Dr. Mahachavaroj is very humble about this ministry, he has said he has been prepared for it “step by step” as he has served in various ministries throughout Asia. As a successful business leader his advice is often sought for business decisions. Over the years, however, people have come to regard his knowledge and wisdom to encompass more than just business matters.
Dr. Mahachavaroj’s unfailing commitment to God has meant his advice has always moved toward spiritual concerns.
This commitment and concern for the spiritual translated to invitations to share and eventually to preach. Over the years he has preached in churches, seminaries, hospitals, and various other meetings. These invitations have come from China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Korea, Australia, and the US. Dr. Mahachavaroj says, “I never thought that God would use me to preach. However, I rarely say NO when I have any opportunities to serve the Lord. I believe that when we lack something, we can pray and ask God to help us. I have asked God to give me wisdom to preach. I believe that I have asked God for the ability for this ministry and that God will fulfill and give me wisdom. It seems that God has given me many opportunities from the beginning until now. Praise God. May all things be for God’s glory.”
Often we think the Apostle Paul used his “tent-making” work simply to support his ministry. What if the “tent-making business” opened the door for his preaching? Maybe we see the same thing with Dr. Mahachavaroj as we see how his business success continues to open the door for him to preach and share the Gospel. Fortunately Dr. Mahachavaroj is open to God’s guidance and direction! Praise God indeed!
On June 16 Journey Community Church, which continues to meet in the Baugh-Marshall Chapel on Central’s Shawnee campus, in recognition of his significant ministry, ordained Dr. Mahachavaroj to the Gospel ministry. Central Seminary’s leadership team, faculty, and staff joined with Journey Community, along with family and friends of Dr. Mahachavaroj, in the laying on of hands and setting apart for ministry of this spiritual leader.