As a man born in Northeast China, I have a strong burden for my hometown churches. Here I select some pastoral experiences from ten pastors to share with you.
1. A church should have its own direction.
A pastor who has led a church for almost twenty years said that he was quite busy working in the first two or three years, spending time hosting large-scale activities, but he was pretty confused about what he was doing. After some time, he even wanted to give up being a pastor then become a businessman.
"At that time, I felt like I was a fraud, the biggest fraud who deceived these believers. I've no idea of what a church is and where I should lead them."Afterwards, he gradually found his church direction after studying ecclesiology which taught him that the church was a home of members connected with each other and a holy temple. The vision was to share the gospel, save souls, and make them disciples of the Lord. Since then, the church has been on a right trajectory.
2. Return to the Bible.
After visiting many churches in China, another pastor realized that a portion of churches focused on external forms including imitating other churches to launch activities and making rules and regulations, but ignored the necessity of studying the Bible.
In his church, he promoted the congregation to read the Bible and pray. In a Bible training program, he asked all the students to read 120 chapters every day. Now, he reads the entire Bible every three months. He also put forward an approach to test whether a pastor worked hard on the Bible by writing different sermons every three years.
3. The church should serve its members.
A young pastor discovered that the core of Jesus' life lied in service as he always wanted to meet the demands of people around him. Therefore, he set "service" as his church's core theology.
Service should include helping believers find apartments, arrange funerals for deceased believers, and providing marriage counseling.
4. Provide opportunities for believers to practice their faith.
A pastor said, "Many believers attend church retreats, but few are willing to be models of serving other people."
Discovering this, he tried hard to provide opportunities for believers, such as listening to others' sharing, cooking for other members, as well as visiting weak and sick Christians.
Some churches let believers serve people through social service. Activities like free clinics, visitation to nursing homes, and rubbish picking up on streets are conducted.
5. Value the cultivation of God's workers.
A pastor who has served for about 20 years claimed that the cultivation of God's workers after His heart should be the top priority of a church's work. Since most people wanted to exalt themselves, it was hard to train a coworker who imitated Jesus' humility and self-denial to serve people. His church adopts the concept of "loose enrollment, strict graduation" to nurture church workers.
A middle-aged pastor from another church chose a young person who was sent to advance in a seminary and would be given a team of workers after graduation. He planned to use 15 years to make that person the church's head.
6. Serve God wholeheartedly.
"Serve God with a true heart because God resents false service." A pastor told his congregation in the pulpit.
Another pastor mentioned that some church activities today were like impressions on TV and lacking sincerity. Christians should love God and people for the glory of God.
7. Let congregations follow Jesus.
Pastors should bring their believers toward Jesus and help them live a life of imitating Jesus.
A pastor sharply put forward that even a few pastors rejected Jesus, walked on their own road, and wanted their congregations to follow them.
8. The church should emphasize nurturing believers' spirituality.
One pastor believed that the most important thing for the church was to nurture the spiritual lives of believers. She said that believers' changed lives were testimonies that worked as sharing the gospel and their families and friends would be blessed.
Another pastor keeps shepherding the deaf with the sharing of salvation. Rather than give deaf people physical material, it was more necessary to develop their spirituality.
9. The church should not save money.
A pastor who runs an enterprise said that his church never lacked money or saved money. Its income is used for social service, poverty alleviation, and assistance to other brother churches. He added that savings were not good and sometimes initiated disputes.
A pastor from a remote town church agreed with his point. Not rich, his church never stored money and even spent over 10,000 yuan curing a believer with severe illness.
10. The church should encourage its congregation to spread the gospel.
An elder who has pastored for nearly two decades summarized her church's mission into two points: nurturing internally and sharing the gospel outwardly.
In a Sunday sermon, she urged the congregation to spread the gospel, saying that evangelism was the responsibility of every saved Christian.
- Translated by Karen Luo