Interview: Pastor Shares Three Stages of Pastoral Ministry in Past 20 Years

Spiral staircases
Spiral staircases (photo:
By Steve Sun March 28th, 2022

It has been nearly 30 years since the rise of urbanization in the 1990s which brought about the revival of urban churches in China. X, a pastor in South China, has led church groups for more than 20 years. In this process, he has experienced the change and renewal of the church’s pastoral mode for believers, which can be divided into three stages.

The first stage: the evangelists' feeding

Nearly 20 years ago, his church invited many famous pastors to share and preach sermons in the church. Some were big names presenting a systematic explanation of biblical teachings; some were the reviving pastors who would actively arouse the believers’ love for the Lord every time they preached; some were honored guests who emphasized especially prayer and spiritual gifts, and always gave believers visions and verbal encouragements.

Although they were all excellent pastors as such, they only appeared once in a while. This situation could not have the believers of the visited church gaining real and systematic pastoral care and guidance. Moreover, each of them had differences in interpreting the Bible and understanding the mission.

The second stage: the systematic Bible teaching

After discovering these problems, his church began to find solutions in pastoral care, so it slowly started the second stage: the Bible teaching stage. It was to find teaching systematic materials. There was the cultivation of beginners, personal spiritual growth, disciple training, the cultivation of churches and sects, marriages and families, etc. Slowly, concerning all kinds of teaching materials, they experienced the process from foreign introduction to indigenization use.

The third stage: establishing the inner life and influence of believers

Later, his church began to focus on guiding believers to pay attention to their spiritual life, emphasizing inner life, and thinking that the construction of believers’ personal life was particularly important. The first stage mentioned above might help believers to establish a relationship with God and the church, but the missing link was the training of establishing relationships with other believers and non-believers. It is an important link to spread the gospel through the influence of Christian life. As a result, the church began to help people learn how to wait for God and obey Him, and at the same time, they could give the fruits and testimonies of life to non-believers.

Pastor X says that at present his church emphasizes the slogan “believe, obey and practice” in pastoral care. He believes that the inner life of believers and the revival of the church have a causal relationship. A person’s inner life reflects the maturity of his belief, and can also predict his influence on the community, workplace and family. He hopes to help believers in his church experience the revival of their personal lives, and then as a result they will see the revival of evangelism from family, the workplace to the community.

- Translated by Charlie Li

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