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What Is the Future of Nanjie Church in Hebei Province?

What Is the Future of Nanjie Church in Hebei Province?

Nanjie Church in Daming County, Handan City, Hebei Province Nanjie Church in Daming County, Handan City, Hebei Province
ByGu Hao October 20, 2021
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In earlier days, due to its profound cultural background, unique geographical position, and unique political status in history, Daming County of Handan City, Hebei Province had been the base of missionaries of various Christian denominations in southern Hebei. Nanjie Church, located in the ancient city of Daming, was one of the churches established by missionaries at that time.

The Nanjie Church was first built in 1927, but the gathering was suspended afterward. The church was requisitioned as a cinema and some of its buildings were rebuilt. After the reform and opening up, the church resumed in 1993. Brother Wang, the head of Daming County Nanjie Church, recalled that there were more than 200 believers at that time, making the whole church at full capacity. In 2019, the church was built again to accommodate more believers. However, it was out of expectation that increasingly fewer believers attended services.

For this reason, during the National Day of 2021, Nanjie Church held a three-day service that closely focused on evangelism. The evening services were accompanied by evangelical sermons, calling on believers to invite relatives and friends to attend. Unfortunately, due to the rain reason, not many people came to the service. Most of the attendees were elderly people and there were almost no young people.

According to Brother Wang, the church was facing serious problems such as the aging of believers, the loss of young believers, and the lack of a full-time pastor to care for believers. He said that there were two main reasons for these problems: one reason was that Daming County had been mainly relying on the agricultural economy till now, and it was difficult to retain local young people for employment. After graduation, many children who left for school in other places chose to live and work in other places, so naturally fewer young people came to church.

The second reason was that there were no committed pastors. In general, different pastors were invited to preach in gatherings such as Sunday services.

“Although there are many churches that do not have full-time pastors, as far as Daming County Nanjie Church is concerned, the disadvantages of not having full-time pastors are becoming increasingly obvious,” he added.

“The service of two or three volunteers alone is far from enough to carry out ministries in Nanjie Church. Take the example of visiting, the most basic ministry, because there is no full-time pastor, no one visits sick and hospitalized believers in time.” Wang said, “In the long run, believers will gradually become indifferent to their faith, which will also lead to the loss of believers.”

Brother Guo is a volunteer at the church. He, the fourth generation Christian in his family, attends the church at a young age. In his view, it was difficult for invited pastors, who gave sermons, to have the energy to really care for the believers, and it was also difficult to increase the membership in a targeted way.

“Because they do not have enough time to understand the believers’ faith and family situation. What’s more, young people’s faith needs to be well established and nurtured. For a long time, without the support of full-time pastors and the service of volunteers, young people’s spiritual life can not be supported, which also leads to the loss of young believers.”

Wang said worriedly, “If this continues, the Nanjie Church in Daming County may become an empty building only in a matter of time.”

Facing this situation, he stated that he hoped to get the help of southern churches, and it was best to have full-time pastors dedicated to the local area to jointly safeguard and use the resources of the church: carry out ministry and missionary work together.

“This will not only solve the pastoral problem in the church, but also carry out various ministries to attract young people to join the church so that young people can find a sense of belonging in the church, and the church will be revived again,” he concluded. 

- Translated by Charlie Li

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