China (MNN) — Church growth in China has been phenomenal. In fact, the body of believers there is growing so fast that there are not enough leaders to keep up with them.
"There are so many more believers coming to faith on a yearly basis than can be shepherded by ordained, trained pastors," says Erik Burklin with China Partner.
Burklin says some of the reasons for this growth is the way evangelism is done in China. Because public proclamations of the Gospel are not permitted, most evangelism is "lifestyle evangelism," or spreading the Gospel from person-to-person. Burklin says this method has been very effective, and many are committing their lives to Christ and being baptized.
Trained pastors run thin, however. Not only are there simply not enough trained pastors for all of the believers, but Burklin says there are not enough young people in training to become pastors. Having untrained leaders can lead to misinterpretations of Scripture and similar problems, which could hamper proper church growth.
China Partner recognized this serious need for trained leaders years ago. In response, the ministry has developed materials for seminars to help train leaders throughout China well enough to effectively lead a group of believers.
China Partner recently trained over 50 lay pastors in Yibin, Sichuan Province. This particular training focused on Discipleship, Biblical Leadership and Pastoral Care. Each seminar with China Partner is tailored specifically to the needs of the particular church hosting the training. Burklin says the three areas addressed in Sichuan (Discipleship, Biblical Leadership and Pastoral Care) are the ones most often requested by churches.
China Partner training sessions are typically conducted through a local church. Besides strong training, each participant also receives a "pastor's pack" which includes theological study books, commentaries and study Bibles.
Over 50 lay pastors were recently trained in Yibin, Sichuan–pastors who likely would never have had the opportunity for training otherwise.
Burklin asks for continued prayer for the leaders of China, as well as for the effectiveness of the training programs. Pray also for continued growth and protection of the church in China.
For more prayer points for China, click here.