While in Bangkok I had the privilege of attending a Saturday evening UNDERground gathering at NewSong Bangkok. The location I visited was one of four locations throughout Bangkok - this one meeting in a very hip area of town called Siam Square.
NS BKK (NewSong Bangkok) is a part of NewSong Church in LA, pastored by Dave Gibbons. A couple of years ago, Dave moved his family from LA to Thailand for about a year to begin their first “international” location of NewSong in Bangkok. They now have campuses located in Irvine, North OC, Los Angeles, and Bangkok.
As far as I can recall, there was no mention at this gathering of NewSong LA or Dave Gibbons. With the environment they are trying to create it makes sense that they are probably trying to keep it feeling small and organic. And it works!
NS BKK focuses on creating two distinct gatherings - ABOVEground and UNDERground. ABOVEground is a monthly gathering where all of their smaller sized gatherings connect for a time of worship. UNDERground gatherings are smaller and meet in homes, coffeehouses, etc… all over Bangkok.
It’s obvious that NS BKK's main focus is on their smaller weekly UNDERground gatherings.
The feel of the gathering was great. This location met in a small coffeehouse located above a bookstore. The vibe of this part of BKK was great! Tons of energy and very fast-paced.
The first thing I noticed after walking in was FOOD, FOOD, FOOD! Food everywhere! And it was free! And no, it wasn’t a potluck. (grrrrrr…..)
There was a hip looking Asian dude sitting down playing and singing with an acoustic guitar providing a little ambient music in the background. The average age in the room was probably between 18-25. There were somewhere in the neighborhood of 30-40 people gathered. The crowd was extremely diverse in terms of nationality. Within five minutes I had met people from Thailand, Japan, Korea, America, Australia, India and a bunch of other places.
After a few minutes of singing and a couple of ice-breakers, one of the leaders, Abe Park, got up and shared for about 30 or 35 minutes. His approach was very conversational and he seemed to connect well with the crowd. Abe is a young Korean-American from LA. His talk was in English but was translated into Thai via a translator who stood next to him.
After spending a few minutes talking with a couple of the leaders, I came to find out that their main focus is in connecting with what they refer to as “misfits” – or the "third culture” – which, according to their website, “describes a person who can move in and out of different cultures, and build relationships with people who are different from them.”
Visiting NSS Bangkok was a great experience! More than anything, it was impacting sitting in a room full of people from all over the world united together through worship and great conversation.
My vision was stretched. My heart filled. Thanks NewSong BKK!