ChinaSource recently reached out to three church leaders in China, asking them to reflect on their experiences of “doing church” in the midst of the health crisis and quarantine. These are some of the many thoughts they shared:
Prayer. Churches came together to ask for 3 days of prayer and fasting at the height of the Wuhan crisis, obviously by on-line means. “Let’s come together with one heart and mind to pray for Wuhan, for China, and for the world.” “It is the early rain in the drought. Churches in China are very engaged in prayer these days (by online methods).”
Unity. “One of the greatest lifelines for me has been our citywide pastor’s network. We officially meet for prayer monthly, and this has continued online during the past two months. However, what has been especially helpful is our organic, sharing of notes, ideas, policies, etc. I appreciated so much the lack of territorialism or competition – the virus has only increased our ‘same team’ mindset.”
“We may have friends or find people in need through the internet who are impossible for us to pay in-person visits. We can probably invite a church closer to them to reach out.”
Training. “The crisis has also helped us identify potential leaders and cultivate discipleship ministry.” “In my opinion, online is not the best platform for evangelism. It is, however, great for training and mentoring, particularly for people with whom there is already a relationship.”
Online Meetings. “In our case, the senior pastor preaches online every Sunday and does training for the fellowship and small group leaders to equip them to reach out on behalf of the church.”
“We promised to meet people online in different forms, such as streaming simplified Sunday services, small groups, and fellowships. Thanks to the Lord for His creation of the internet that allows people to continue to engage with and encourage one another. It’s also been vital for lay leaders in using various forms of online media to take responsibility for caring for brothers and sisters.”
Giving. “One of the by-products of this experience has been that people are tithing more!”
Change: “Although the pandemic has slowed down, it has encouraged many Christians to ponder the question of why we have to face this challenge. Perhaps the Lord is determined to transform our way of life so that we will turn away from evil and back to Him.”
Evangelism. “Pray for gospel advancement. The goal is not survival, but that the crisis would allow the gospel to be implanted in a broader number of people.”
Pastoral work. “We’ve organised a ‘touch-base initiative', where the pastoral team touches base via social media with five people a day. It has been remarkable how it has opened up opportunities for conversation and prayer, and even led to giving to the church, since all of that has been done online as well.”
Source: “Salt in the Soup”. ChinaSource. Narci Herr
Take one or two of the areas mentioned above and pray that the Lord would apply those lessons to the churches in your country.
Pray for the churches in China as they emerge from the lock-down, that they might hold on to what the Lord said to them in the crisis and also know how to function as China slowly opens up.