China (MNN) — A spiritual emphasis week was attended by over 600 church workers in Harbin, northwest China.
Erik Burklin with China Partner
Ministries reports: "As we
were there, we happened to run into a young pastor who has a vision to build a
new church, which is amazing in the context of this particular city. It's just about 500 miles north of the
Russian border. So you would think, with
communist China, something like this kind of a project–a church building–in
this kind of a scope would not be possible, but it is!"
The 32-year-old young pastor had a far-reaching vision to build a church that would house a 10,000-member congregation. The city made a piece of property available
for the church.
He also has
plans to establish a Christian training center for 800 students and a Christian
retirement home for 1,000 seniors. His
work is open and legal, and the mayor of the town actively supports his plans.
It is exciting, and it shows that
many people are responding to the Gospel. However, there's another side of the story. Although there is a surge of new believers
and hundreds of baptisms, pastors say many are coming to faith but are not
Burklin says, "Once they're
baptized, they leave the church thinking,
‘This is now my way to heaven, and I don't have to do anything
more. I don't have to keep learning
about Scripture; I don't have to keep attending church to grow spiritually.'"
Their concern is over the heresy
that can develop. The church growth rate is also outpacing trained
China Partners' approach is to
train the church leaders so that they, in turn, can teach and ground new
Christians in their faith. "China
Partners stands shoulder-to-shoulder with these pastors by providing them good
training like pastoral care. Also, Christian leadership is a huge need in China
on how to be a good leader as a pastor."
Please continue to pray for their
strategic ministry in China.