It has been almost two and a half months since churches in China stopped public meetings because of the coronavirus outbreak. During this time, many churches and pastoral staff have used online audio, video, live broadcast, or texting to share the Bible truths with Christians. Many groups and fellowships continue to meet online.
Among the many online resources, the "Weekly Bread," launched by the Research Office of the Nanjing Union Theological Seminary, has become a textbook for many churches' online devotional classes. So far, more than a thousand brothers and sisters have begun a journey of Chinese-style devotional practice through listening, thinking and writing.
When it comes to devotional materials, brothers and sisters are familiar with popular books like Streams in the Desert and Daily Bread for My Soul. Most of these are translated from foreign languages. The Nanjing Research Office is planning to develop a devotional manual based on the lives of Chinese Christians and the experience of believers in Chinese churches. The devotional follows the basic format of its predecessors. The first edition of "Weekly Bread" has been published for 2020.
The "Weekly Bread" for 2020 is divided into six parts: year-end, renewal, planting, resuscitation, ministry, compliance, silence, waiting, harvesting, sanctification, Christmas, and thanksgiving. In each part, there is a two-month calendar and 8-9 devotional essays, which are concise and well-written.
In order to make better use of the"Weekly Bread," the Nanjing Research and Editing Office invited colleagues to participate in online tutoring and launched 53 lessons for the first year. Lessons are synchronized with the chapters in the book, 10-20 minutes for each class. In the audio section, there is an introduction to the theme and the basics of devotional practice, with further explanation of the doubts that believers may encounter in life.
The members of this online devotional class are young Christians living in the Internet age. The class provides convenient methods of meditating on the Bible for young people who are accustomed to learning and working online. They lead busy lives--"Go to work by subway, get off work by bus, wait for the elevator, pick up the children, attend church, sing in the choir, gather with fellowship groups, listen and share, meditate on God's words. "
In addition, Nanjing Union Theological Seminary invited more than a thousand mature believers to share their experience with devotional meditations, and accompany those taking the course on the path of devotional growth.
So far, "Weekly Bread" has used the theme of "make a seed" and is into the 14th week. This class was updated on April 4th, with nearly 4,000 people reading it, and 367 people participating in the opening. In the group "Weekly Bread", there are nearly 1,000 members, and 14 lessons with nearly 10,000 comments.
Daily Devotions: cultivating a habit of faith that will benefit you for a lifetime
"Speaking of devotions, I am very grateful to the teacher of the youth fellowship att he university. It was she who repeatedly taught us about devotions that so we today have developed the habit of regular devotions. You can let go of all your fatigue during daily devotions and enjoy the good time of soul rest in the Lord ... "
"After listening to the teacher's sharing, I feel that I am particularly blessed. I have entered this kind of learning fellowship, cultivating my devotional life, and insist on"checking in" 53 times a year. I look forward to meeting a better self!"
The above is some feedback from the participants after the "Weekly Bread " opening class. It is not difficult to see that for many Christians, the development of devotional habits is a deep expectation. However, in the real life of busyness, in the battle between individual inertia and sin, it is not easy to be able to continue devotions and gain strength from the Word of the Lord in order to face the challenges in life.
- Translated by Kevin Feng