In recent years, as part of China's urbanization process, city churches rise gradually, not only in top tier cities, but also in second tire cities and provincial capitals. More and more believers get involved in ministry.
Brother Liu believed in God when he was a graduate student and then studied at a house church theological seminary. He served conservative house churches and reformed churches in several cities successively, and he was invited to be a preacher in a church recently. He usually wrote down his thoughts of church development.
In the interview, he stressed the importance of theological innovations of city church, reform of church system and communication with other churches. Besides, he talked about common features of young pastors and the styles of church they liked.
Brother Liu frankly admitted the limitations of his thought. Nevertheless, his sharing provided us a fresh and real angle of view to think about the developments of city church.
CCD: The theology of many Chinese churches comes from the west. You also grow up in city church and have served for about five years. Based on your experience, what do you think the Chinese church needs, and what is important in theological thoughts nowadays?
Liu: I think Chinese church theology is not systematic nowadays. There is so much to learn from the west theology. But when it comes to applying in the Chinese environment, it needs deeply consideration. For example, Christianity and Chinese traditional culture share something in common. But the believers need to find out the common grace from God and throw away the culture dross, and the church need to have positive effects on Chinese culture.
I also think the church needs to update the views in theological thoughts on social function. In conventional view, a Christian is one who just pays more attention on Bible reading and praying. There is little consideration on the outside, and the city even is regarded as Sodom or Gomorrah. I think how to love the city and affect the society is important nowadays in theological thoughts. It's the sins in the city that motivate us to show the gospel of God. We should find out what the city needs and I think the key point is participating in community service, such as free haircut for elder people and medical services in the communities. These services expand church's influence and residents will be kind to Christian religion. But now, we have done very little on community service, let alone affect the city's ethos.
CCD: Do you think where the difficulty is in the process of community service?
Liu: Firstly, we need to change our misconceptions about community service. Jesus not only saved the souls of people, but also healed the sick and fed the crowd with five loaves and two fish. And above all, we need to go outside rather than be limited to the traditional events.
CCD: Therefore, what role should the city church play in the city, in your opinion?
Liu: We should do more for philanthropy, because it is not something government can do on its own. Some faith-based NGO in west countries are doing well on philanthropy. We should learn from them. On the other hand, city churches also can play active promoting effect on educations. After all, the church exists to reflect life value and affect social ethos.
To Be Continued.
Translated By : Yangming