By Bob Lunt
Pastor Jin is a leader in a network of house churches in China. He remembers two years ago when things were relatively easy, “yet deep down”, he says, “we had grown comfortable, even complacent. The longing to meet together to worship, read the word and pray had been quietly edged out by the attraction of work, money and entertainment. The old passion just wasn’t there any more.”
Then one day police burst in on a church meeting open to folk seeking to know more about Jesus. Pastor Jin was arrested and imprisoned in solitary confinement for ten days. He prayed and sang a lot, but questions plagued his mind. By the end he’d whittled the battle down to one question: “If I’m called by God, am I really willing to sacrifice everything for the Lord Jesus?”
By the last day he’d made peace with himself and God. “No matter what happened I would serve the Lord.
“But back at church we knew we would be watched like hawks. Put one foot wrong and the consequences would be dire.”
In February 2018 the Chinese government granted more powers to local authorities to shut down unregistered churches and forbid landlords from renting properties to Christians for meetings. Children and teenagers were forbidden to go to church. Yet, says Jin, “the whole ordeal recalibrated us all. Our focus moved from ensuring Sunday services were well organised and ‘impressive’, to caring for each other in small groups in people’s homes. We began to experience a richness in fellowship that we hadn’t felt for a long time. We got to know each other and cared for one another and our extended families. We prayed for each other, relationships were restored, and miracles happened again. Though divided geographically, in the Spirit we were more united than ever. Bible truth and relationship with Jesus have become so important that we cherish every moment together.
“The church is growing because of persecution! We are alive again and growing and equipping the saints for the work of the Kingdom. There are dangers and we still have to be very careful, but the sense of peace and hope for the future make all the rest seem like stepping stones to glory.”
Source: Open Doors