Preachers' Pondering: Is Evangelizing in China Getting Harder than Ever?

Beijing Haidian Church
1/2Beijing Haidian Church
2/2chior(photo: Christian Times)
By Elsie HuMay 13th, 2016

According to one Chinese preacher "It was hard to preach the gospel before and it is the same case now." Members are always changing, but the pastors do not change at all.

Even if people are now becoming more inclined to come in contact with religion and attend church, there is still a large percentage of people leaving the church. What are the common reasons why the church loses its parishioners?

Christians set strict restrictions when it comes to a follower's circle of friends.

It is becoming an odd occurrence that Chinese Christians tend to lose their circle of friends after they become Christians. Since these Chinese become Christians, it becomes difficult for them to communicate with their non-Christian friends as they are more aware of the meanings of God's word and look at meetings and pleasures a waste of time. They also start refusing invitations to be with their friends.

One girl shared her experience and said that her Christian friend tends to change the subject of their discussions to faith when they discuss things like food and clothes. As a result, she almost ended their friendship. Each time someone evangelizes her, it reminds her of her Christian friend and she resists the religion and its teaching. This restriction of friends disables Christians to witness God' grace and disables them from making friends. Non-Christians even find their Christian friends are mysterious and weird, giving them the idea that they would be the same once they convert into Christianity.

It is difficult to understand the spiritual language of Christians.

When she was asked by a Christian friend to attend mass with her, Ms. Lee attended one and felt that the church felt detached from the outside world and the followers are warm-hearted. However, she could not understand the sermons and the communication done by members. When a sister approached her and encouraged her to listen to God's word as it would help her become more "spiritual", she did not know what "being spiritual meant." As the church sessions progressed, she heard a song played and asked a sister the title. However, she got hurt when the sister said the title and added "didn't you know this?". She wondered why she had to know this title. She left the church even if it is difficult for her.

Another person shared a story and passed down through the word of mouth. One day, a believer's mother and sister were shocked to see believers pray in tears and kneeling on the ground when they attended a prayer meeting. Although her son explained to them why they were speaking in tongues, she saw them as crazy people who recite the scriptures often.

Christians wait for non-believers to adapt their beliefs

As the time continue to pass, the church remain the same and wait for followers to keep up with their teachings. According to a senior editor from Beijing, the cross can be shown in Chinese society and allow the Chinese to know, understand and become familiar with Lord's love and reflect with our love. It should not be done through the enforcement of persecution and support the suffering of others.

In one example, welcoming newcomers is a common feature of churches. Newcomers are often asked to stand in a line before the congregation and introduce themselves to their fellow followers. They would speak about how they were brought to the church and how they feel now that they were finally going to be a part of the church. For Ms. Zhou, this specific part of the introduction to the church was somehow alarming since she was forced to say something even if she was brought there because of the nice atmosphere in the area.

The Church often isolates themselves from society because of this "unique" languages. What matters is the fact that there is love and people become a family because of this love. However, it is important that the church must also know how to preach the gospel with wisdom. The words in the gospel are very simple but sometimes, it is hard to understand. The Church must preach it in such a way that it is understood by all without necessarily changing the gospel. The church must study how they can adapt the gospel for non-Christians.

In a suggestion of Rev. Wang from Jinan, Shandong, there should be a creation of a fellowship based by age and divided into teams so they can easily adapt to the church community. In terms of evangelism, Rev. Wang suggested that it should be practiced in various ways aside from just preaching the gospel. For example, the choir can sing hymns and play instruments while exercising in the morning or performing in a crowd outside the church. This would garner attention from the public and ask what songs they were singing. They can even invite these non-belivers to learn singing these hymns and establish relationships with these non-believers. Given time, these students would follow them to the church and convert.

Rev. Wang stressed that his church has volunteers roaming around Shangdong helping around the society by cleaning in parks, mending broken bicycles or distributing water freely as these are also evangelism activities.

In conclusion, the gospel should be planted under the worldly environment similar on how one plants a seed. Let it sprout and grow until it lights all the surroundings.

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