Chinese lay pastors graduate special seminary program

By June 23, 2023

China (MNN) – Despite times of intense pressure, the church in China has continued to grow and thrive. Erik Burklin with China Partner says that growth is continuing as they celebrate Chinese students’ seminary graduations this month.

The president of the China Christian Council in Hubei recently sent Burklin a picture of Chinese lay pastors who had  graduated from a seminary in Wuhan.

“What I love about this ministry that they have regular students that come to the seminary, of course, and these are men and women who are trained and equipped to become senior pastors eventually. But this particular ministry is for lay pastors. So these are individuals who don’t have maybe as high of an education, but they love the Lord. They are serving as pastors in their townships and little villages out in the countryside. This seminary now does a training specifically for lay pastors.”

The Gospel is not Locked Down

The difference of a few years is astounding. Just a few years ago China’s strict zero Covid-19 policy meant lock downs instead of training, yet the Gospel continued to move. Now China Partner is seeing photos of graduations and trainings.

“We just thank the Lord for how he’s keeping these men and women faithful. They understand that their labor is not in vain. They’re going to stay faithful. As a result of this, even this graduation, celebration, these men and women are going to go back to their hometowns, and they’re going to be preaching.”

Image courtesy of China Partner

There is much to celebrate and yet for the past few years China Partner has not had the joy of meeting with their Chinese brothers and sisters in person.

Burklin says that in order to stay connected they have been providing training and support online. “We record our trainings onto a secure web site. That then gives them the opportunity to download these training sessions onto their local computers. They can then share this material and this training to seminary students or even lay pastors.”

Reuniting Soon

However, they are planning a trip to go to China in September to reconnect with their partners. They plan to get status updates on programs and needed support. One topic of interest is that Xi Jinping was elected for an unprecedented third term in March. China Partner wants to know what that means for the Church and how they can serve Chinese Christians as they share the hope of Jesus.

The trip will be informative but also exciting and a chance to thanks to God. Burklin explains, “The church in China is continuing, it’s not dying. It’s not going backwards. It’s moving forward. I’ve shared this before, this command or this promise that Jesus made that I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against me, He’s talking to Peter there in this context, but in the greater context, it’s his Church.”

Join China Partner in thanking God for his faithfulness to the Chinese Church. Pray also that God would continue to raise up new leaders who love and serve Him and His people.

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Header image courtesy of China Partner.