Path of a Christian Campus Fellowship in a Third-tier Chinese City
By CCD contributor: Xiao Bin, April 29, 2017 04:04 AM
Editor's note: The writer is a brother from the post-90s generation who used to serve in a campus fellowship in a third-tier city in Jiangsu.
It has been ten years since the fellowship was established.
I had no idea for the first three years that there was a campuse fellowship because I wasn't there for college yet. I joined upon my arrival in the city, and seven years have passed since then.
Only my wife and I remain of the original fellowship members from then. Those in charge have changed, and students left each year with graduation.
The local church provided us with the best support: free space, spiritual coverage, and shielding. However, no local pastor had the energy for the fellowship. After all, it was not in their plan.
The fellowship invited an excellent preacher almost every week in 2011 and 2012, so the leader didn't have to worry about sermons.
We spent a lot of time organizing activities like Christmas and Easter evening services, evening memorial services for Passion Week, Birthday celebrations, graduation parties, New Year's Prayer Meetings, New Year's Camp Meetings, Spring Outings, and so on in the last two years. We purchased new chairs since there were so many newcomers and we didn't have enough. Even after removing the desks, we could barely fit everyone, and the number of believers were around 60 to 90 people.
As we were planning a second fellowship, something happened.
There was no preacher available to give sermons. The other activities were proceeding normally, but we no longer had excellent sermons on Saturdays.
Fewer and fewer people were attending on Saturdays due to the unreliable competence of the preachers. Sometimes, the preachers felt embarrassed because only seven or eight people were listening.
Also, each school started the unprecedented united action of investigating student's beliefs starting a few years back, which affected me greatly. Some Christian students are outstanding and bear a good witness to schools and teachers, but some are the opposite. They fail or cut classes, have bad relationships with classmates, or have other issues. Unfortunately, with the endless meetings and activities, we only cared about the spiritual lives of students, and weren't investing in their studies enough or we don't invest time at all.
We made the tough choice of canceling the Saturday meetings, and kept the Friday meetings only. Bible study was cut back to once a month. We encouraged brothers and sisters to focus more on their studies beyond the fellowship. We went to great lengths to pass the message that serving God was not limited to church building. Since the world is made by God, performing one's duty earnestly is also serving Him. Achieving good results in school and work and being brave and honest is also a testimony to God.
There aren't as many people in the fellowship now. Maybe it was a chance from God to start over and learn the Word of God consciously in nature, history, and the Bible, to imitate Christ.
Today, with the quality of Sunday sermons diminishing, the primary need of students attending the fellowship is an abundant supply of the truth of God.
When we do this, do we still need to worry about not handling personal relations well?
When exercising the teachings of the Lord Jesus, do we still need to worry about not loving each other?
Translated by: Grace Hubl
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