A Chinese House Church Testimony
ChinaSource recorded some powerful comments by a Chinese brother who defined himself as doing “pastoral work full time in a house church.” The brother spoke of two recent challenges that the church in which he serves has faced and, by the grace of God, has overcome.
The first challenge was that of the Covid pandemic. “At the outset of the pandemic, it seemed that every sphere of society in China and around the world had hit the pause button.” Smaller churches suffered in that period. “40 percent of the churches saw a sharp decline in numbers during the three years of the pandemic. There were also some small churches that had to suspend their services overnight. Because of that, they didn’t receive enough offerings and then couldn’t afford to pay their rent. This made things particularly difficult in large cities where rents are very high. If you have only 20 to 30 people in a church and suddenly everyone is out of work, that has a huge impact on the church financially. These churches were not able to survive the pandemic.”
However during the pandemic this brother “saw that God’s work in the city where I served was not paused by the virus. Our church not only persevered but also continued to experience growth.” One significant reason for that was because of their leadership. “Our church is led by a mature pastor who had been theologically trained and pastored churches in the West for at least 10 years.” As a result, “even during the epidemic, we planted new churches, building on the growth of the existing churches. God protected His church not only in terms of numbers, but also in terms of the lives of the brothers and sisters.”
The second challenge that this brother described was the persecution which they faced. “In the year when we first decided to come out and start planting new churches, there was a great deal of external persecution from the government. Yet, in the midst of this persecution, God was moulding His people, and often using methods that we don’t quite understand so that we can learn lessons.”
“When external persecution came knocking, it was us, not our parents as in the past, who had to confront these challenges head-on. Such a shift compelled us to grapple with a fundamental question: What does it mean to follow Jesus, especially in the unique context of China? Our church planting stage was a refining process orchestrated by God. In Chinese churches, some pastors argue that enduring persecution and suffering are part of the DNA of the Chinese church. Without these trials, the church might not be what it is today. The older generations, our predecessors, grew up in the midst of storms, rain, and persecution. I firmly believe that persecution will be indispensable for this generation as well. It’s ingrained in the DNA of all Christians that when there’s no external persecution, that’s when problems begin to occur within the church.”
Pray that many like this brother who face difficult church situations would remain faithful to the Lord.
Pray for the leaders and members of those churches that did not survive the pressures that the Covid pandemic caused.
Pray for younger church leaders in China who, like this brother, God is moulding in ways that “we don’t quite understand”.
Source: ChinaSource, Chinese Church Voices article: "Faith Tested, Faith Strengthened."