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Young Pastor: "The Love of Believers Inspires Me to Go on"

Young Pastor: "The Love of Believers Inspires Me to Go on"

A cross lays besides a lily and the Bible. A cross lays besides a lily and the Bible. (Christian Design)
ByAi Mo July 26, 2021
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Born in Henan, Brother Zhao followed his mother to church since he was a child, during which he accepted the Christian faith. In 2015, Zhao decided to serve God. A year later, he enrolled in theology to equip himself. After graduation in 2019, he began to work as a pastor in his hometown church. He has now been serving the church for nearly two years.

Looking back on the road of service during the past few years, he finds it challenging but also touching. Practical challenges are always there, such as how to truly shepherd believers in service, how the church attracts young people, and how to keep believers from following secular values. Amid countless challenges and pressures, the believers’ simple love for God (and the preacher) is like a beam of light that warms and strengthens his road of service.

Embarking on the road of ministry in confusion

Brother Zhao went to both school and work. At the time, he did not intend to serve full-time in the church. Like most people, he led a routine life.  However, when at work, he would always think about the meaning of life, and the world of faith that his mother had told him about. He began to think about the nature of life.

“I am a person who is easily influenced by my environment, but when I am still by myself, something inside me tells me that this is not the life I want,” he said.

As he finished his first job and was about to look for another, Zhao heard many voices inside him saying, “Do you really want to go to work despite not caring about money? Is this how you wish to live the rest of your life?”

He had been in the habit of praying since he was a child. One day there was no activity in the churches in their county, so he ran to pray alone. Finally, he said to God, “If you choose me and let me go on the road of serving you, it will not matter whether I am rich or poor.”

A challenging road of service

When he made up his mind to serve, he began to do some basic service in the church while preparing for Henan Theological Seminary. He passed the exams in 2016 and graduated from the seminary in 2019. During this time, he returned to preach once a month.

After graduating from the theological seminary, Brother Zhao began to participate in practical pastoral work. He gradually realized that in an era of knowledge, knowing how to catch believers’ attention and how to bring real comfort and help to them in preaching is a huge challenge for preachers.

Zhao learned much during his three years at the seminary, but when he went to minister to believers, he found out that what he had to convey was not only knowledge, but also to speak the truth in line with their real needs.

For him, the time spent serving and being with believers at the grassroots level was a constant source of challenge for preachers. For example, the aging of grassroots churches makes it difficult to carry out a lot of work.  Many believers are also controlled by money and have no time to go to church. It is also difficult for young people to accept the Gospel if they have no faith in their own family.

“For a normal person who has no disease and has not been influenced by Christian culture, why does he or she need to be a believer at a young age? They need to be given a reason why they should believe,” he added.

Zhao said he would share with young people that faith is about life, but they would think that if they could not see any of it with their eyes, then there was no need to spend energy pursuing it.

“But if you earn money and build a house in your family, everyone can see it”, he said. To better attract young people, Zhao’s church is also considering building a basketball court in the church yard.

The love of believers inspires him to go on

Although Brother Zhao faced many difficulties and challenges in his service, he shared that being moved has been the dominant feeling. The stories of ordinary believers showed him their love for the preacher and for God, and this was the motivation for him to continue his service.

“There was an aunt who had a temple near her house, and none of her family members were believers, so her faith was very difficult regardless of the external environment or family atmosphere. However, she could go beyond these to look up to God and take care of the needs of preachers.”

Zhao continued, “This sister saw me working very hard in the rural church and thought I needed an electric car. So one day she prayed to God that she would run into me some day, and just on that day I was serving by her house. She invited me in and dug out a bottle of money from the vegetable field. She said she would give it to me to buy an electric car. At that moment I was overwhelmed and felt the love of a believer for the preacher.”

He claimed. "There was also another aunt, who brought her younger son to church to be baptized when I first knew her. I learned about her family’s situation that her eldest son and husband died of the same disease. Her younger son was normal in his 20s, tall and handsome, but he became abnormal in his 30s and later died.”

Before that, Zhao often went to this aunt’s place to preach, and the aunt would give him something when she knew he was coming.

“I thought it was hard for her to even get a dollar, but she still had the heart to give.” Her relatives died one after another, especially the two sons, which is cruel for a mother; in such a situation, many people may lose faith and become desperate. But she had no complain against God. In fact, she hardly complained in general.”

Brother Zhao said that through the life experience of one believer after another, his road of service has been strengthened.

“How can I, as a pastor, give up when they all have such great love as laymen?”

- Translated by Stephen Huang

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