The "Happiness Group's gospel ministry", promoted by the Hainan Haixiu Church, seeks to evangelize and lead people to the Lord. It has been performed in two batches of catechumens, which has a significant effect.
Mr. Zhu, the pastor in charge of the ministry, introduced that the Happiness Group was an extension of the original Cell Group of the Church. The authentic cell group leader was named the new group leader called Blessing Leader in the Happiness Group. Three or four original Cell Group members were selected into the new group. After they discussed strategies through a tea party, the Happiness Group team was formally formed.
Once the team was established, the co-workers had to look for friends who had not yet believed in the Lord. These people were called "BEST" and were the target of evangelism. In Zhu's view, the team did not need too many members. The most important thing was that "the co-workers must have the same intention, the same mind, and the same confidence to save people from the darkness."
A "Happiness Group" was composed of a Blessing Leader, three or four co-workers, plus their BEST (those invited friends who had not yet known the Lord as their Savior). Started in July 2019, 14 happiness groups of Haixiu Church were established in the first session. A total of 77 colleagues participated in the evangelism for 87 catechumens, eventually, there were 54 people baptized to become Christians.
The "Happiness Group" campaign had to be suspended for a few months after the outbreak of COVID-19 in early 2020. When the church resumed its gathering in June, it held a second "Happiness Group" session, which established 26 groups with 285 catechumens participating, while 68 people were baptized. In the subsequent baptisms, most of them were the fruits of the Happiness Group. It is estimated that the number of baptized people from the second batch will be over 80.
Zhu said that the Happiness Group was an evangelical platform deliberately created as the locomotive ministry by Haixiu Church. It was the starting point as well as the goal of all the church's ministries. "If there is no success of the Happiness Group, there will be no driving force for follow-up work," said the pastor.
Unlike traditional churches, the Happiness Group is dedicated to group preaching the gospel. "We need group evangelism. Instead of preaching alone, a group of people work together.", said Zhu. In his view, real evangelism should be like this. He continued, "It's like working in a big harvest field where it's very laborious for one person, and it's difficult to complete the harvest effectively."
So far, each session of the Happiness Group" lasts 12 weeks. Brother Wu, another happiness group co-worker, said that the happiness group leader usually used different forms to complete the weekly theme according to the group members' characteristics. The specific time, place, and format of each group were freely arranged. Apart from the same article shared every week by all groups, the elderly groups took turns to share a testimony, for example, while the young people held tea parties to discuss pre-designed topics. It was relatively easy the whole process. The group leader needed only to control the direction of the case.
During the last week of the Happiness Group session, the group leader would ask the BEST members if they intended to be baptized, and the willing ones would enter the pre-baptism training class to prepare for baptism. In the next session, the newly baptized members can join the organization directly after simple training. They will take part in inviting and leading new catechumens. As for those who have not made up their minds, the group leaders will also ask them to continue participating in the next Happiness Group session.
Although the gospel group has only held two sessions, there are some real testimonies. Brother Wu told a story of an aunt, a cleaner, in the first batch of catechumens. After attending several group meetings, the people around her were surprised to see her changes. The sister testified that the people around her said that her whole person's state was completely different, "it seems that one will become happy once she/he joins the Happiness Group."
With the encouragement of everyone, the aunt was finally baptized. She has joined the Happiness Group with enthusiasm. Furthermore, she will work as a group leader in the coming session and look forward to passing the joy of knowing the Lord to more people around her.
- Translated by Jerry Liu