Isaac was prepared to go down to Egypt in order to avoid the famine of Canaan but was blocked by God in Gerar. Therefore, Isaac, who was a herder, had to plant in that land, and “the same year reaped a hundredfold" (see Genesis 26:1-13). During this pandemic, I have also reaped "a hundredfold.’
The pandemic fulfilled my promise. To sustain an online presence during the pandemic, I had to change my long-standing habit of only preparing outline or lectures that were only partial drafts, and I started writing my sermons out in full.
On the other hand, because of the lockdown and having the freedom of being at home, I saw colleagues writing articles in some local e-journals on the Internet. I was inspired. I could also write articles of faith and upload it to various WeChat groups in the church to help meet the spiritual needs of brothers and sisters. At the same time, I connected a Christian media ministry and decided to submit articles to them. In this way, I started my writing ministry.
Writing full-text lectures has been one of my goals. While taking online courses for advanced training at Liangyou Bible College I studied "Intensive Preaching." The teacher suggested that we write out the complete text of our sermons, so I promised myself that I would write at least six full-text sermons every year after graduating. However, it has been two and a half years since I graduated, and my sermons still were only partially written out. The pandemic has given me to the opportunity to fulfill this promise. From the beginning of March, I began my writing ministry and quickly made up for the two years since graduation when I haven’t written complete sermons.
The pandemic expanded the field of service. Before, whenever I prepared a satisfactory sermon or Bible study material, I was sorry that I could only share it only once in the church. The light given by God seemed as if it were buried. I have always wanted to share my work with other brothers and sisters; at the same time, I have dreamed of sharing my experiences and touching stories from my ministry and work in the church. It was this pandemic that helped my wishes and dreams to come true through the medium of online media.
The pandemic forced the church to shift its ministries from offline to online. I found that I was unprepared for this shift. I don’t like to use a mobile phone, so I was not familiar with many of its functions. The same is true of using live online video. In the early stage of the pandemic, I still had the illusion that it would pass soon and the online gatherings would also end soon. I thought that there were other groups who could do this, so it didn’t matter whether I was competent in using network video broadcasting technology or not. However, this situation has forced me to learn those things. God is using this pandemic to "teach a pig to play on a flute." It is opening the door for online shepherding for me, and laying the foundation for online pastoral ministry.
The pandemic gave direction to my efforts. First, the pandemic compelled churches to change from offline pastoring to online. This not was not only a new challenge for me, but also made me realize that as a minister, I must keep up with changing trends in society, keep pace with the times, understand new things, and master or apply new technology in advance.
Secondly, the number of people suffering from mental illness has risen greatly during the pandemic. Three family members of persons suffering from depression have asked me for help. Since I hadn’t paid much attention to pastoral counseling, when faced with this, I was unsure of what I should do. Therefore, I realized my shortcomings and determined to overcome it in my future pastoral work.
The pandemic gave a post in my soul. Recently, when I was relaxing or in my spare time, I unconsciously opened the Christian media website on my mobile phone or computer. I enjoy the well-written articles and can feel both the joy and the bitterness that the evangelists express and learn from it. I pay attention to the world and watch what is happening in the church in the country, and I browse and review my works.
- Translated by Elaina Wu