Recently, a new wave of the pandemic has hit our lives again, bringing many churches' offline ministries to a halt. The scheduled study course had to be canceled due to the pandemic. I had to cancel my scheduled work visit too.
I learned that a pastor in a certain place in Central China eventually chose to get a job after quitting being a pastor due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and other problems, leaving the post of service that he was in for many years. He may have his own reasons and difficulties, but it is not a happy thing that we lost another priest. It may affect the faith of other brothers and sisters in the church, and it may cause the termination of some ministries in the church.
During the pandemic situation, the churches of Central China faced various crises, including pastoral crises and future development issues. As is known to all, most of the churches in Central China are located in the plains. When farming is busy, the church's work would be suspended because of the need to harvest corn or plant wheat and other crops. So at this time, there is a window period in the church work, and as a full-time pastor, there are other things to think about because of the temporary work in the field. Many believers have been put on hold because of busy farming and the pandemic. When the gathering stopped, the faith of the believers began to suffer, and the faith habits they had formed may be gradually disappearing due to the busy work of the farm.
For pastors, there is indeed a great deal of pressure and difficulties in their ministries, and the recent pandemic has made it impossible to hold in-person gatherings. As a result, many rural pastors have chosen to get other jobs. They either get another job while participating in the ministry where they work or become full-time workers in cities, leaving the rural church service completely.
The present rural churches in the Central China are very different from those in the past. The Internet has become developed and the spread of information is very rapid. Many believers also begin to listen to mixed information online, some of which is true and some of which is false. This unprecedented situation has created a new pastoral problem for church pastors. Because believers have other sources of information about their faith, many people are increasingly disinterested in face-to-face meetings, meaning that attendance at church services is scarce.
The church's current situation is not optimistic, and that is why we should be prepared. The pastors should keep their own minds from the temptation of the world, and the believers should be firm in their faith and practice good habits of faith and life. At present, we are not only facing the external issue of the pandemic, but also facing our own weakness and negativity, fighting external pressure and internal struggles, and asking God to show mercy and help us.
- Translated by Nicolas Cao