There is an old, retired preacher in Liaoning Province who has been in charge of churches in different places. He is a faithful servant with clean hands and a clean heart and does not give for money.
In the 1980s, Pastor Zhong Pu (pseudonym) graduated from the seminary after studying there for four years and returned to the town church of his hometown as the first seminary student in this small village in the mountains. An old preacher led him to visit the relevant departments and get familiar with the work. Since then, he has begun to minister and serve in the local church.
The K Church in another city had just been restored and was in urgent need of pastoral talent. At a provincial Christian conference, the head of the K Church selected him to be the pastor of this church.
K Church is an old church with a history of more than 100 years. After the ten years of the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976), there was no more religious activity. This tile-roofed building with a "big roof" sank seriously, and the seats, doors, and windows in the church were old and damaged. More importantly, the lack of pastoral care for believers and the lack of pastoral care in the church were quite serious.
On Christmas Eve, Pastor Zhong Pu was sent to this church. When he arrived at K Church, the first thing he did was celebrate Christmas. Pastor Zhong went to the nearby shopping mall to buy some paper garland and colored paper to decorate the church, and he began to decorate the Christmas tree. Only six people attended on Christmas Day.
Then he began to do "a whole lot" of things: ministry, administration, coordinating church and state relations, solving the church's lack of funds, and beginning the renovation of the church.
Zhong Pu repeatedly went to the religious authorities and construction authorities to request a new church and finally got approval.
In order to raise funds for the construction of the church, on the one hand, he donated money himself and called believers to donate, and on the other hand, he sought help from churches his classmates were in and other churches. At last, he finally got the money he needed to build the church.
Pastor Zhong also designed the church himself, using a combination of Gothic style and modernism.
In addition, the design of the new church is a high building, while the old church was a low tiled house, which would cause the problem of blocking the neighbors light. Most of the neighbors are ethnic minorities with different faiths.
Pastor Zhong went to visit the venerable elder among them with a gift and invited him to dinner. Then they talked about their respective beliefs and the connection between Christianity and his faith. Finally, that elder agreed to build the church, and no one else objected.
Later, Pastor Zhong Pu found a construction team. They paid part of the construction money in advance, the church gave them another part, and they started work first. The foreman of the construction team was reluctant to invest more and wanted to cut corners. Pastor Zhong Pu also knows this "secret", and he was very strict in the quality supervision of the project. However, the contractor told the migrant workers that if the priest meddled, he would break his leg.
Pastor Zhong had no idea of the plots behind them. At the end of a Sunday meeting, he told the congregation that construction of the new church was going to start and that workers from thousands of miles away were living a hard life there. Anyone who had bedding, clothes, shoes, and hats could donate them. So many believers took out their clothes, bedding, military coats, etc., and filled a house, most of them quite new. These poor migrant workers were very grateful that they did not cheat and cut corners according to the orders of the boss. They ensured the quality of the church's work and also protected Pastor Zhong Pu from harm.
In the subsequent reelection of the church, Pastor Zhong served as the head of the church and as chairman of the city's CC&TSPM.
He also took a series of measures to solve the problems of the church. For example, he improved the financial management system of the church, sorted out the church's teaching products, and hired professional financial personnel. He took back church property that had been occupied without compensation and made regulations for church rental houses according to the market price.
Then, Pastor Zhong violated the illegal interests of others in his ministry and administration, affecting the benefits of individuals in the church. Someone organized a meeting to gather people to attack him the following day at the church. But when the lead organizer went to the church to fight Zhong Pu, he suddenly shook on the road and fainted on the ground. Other people saw this and dared not do anything to Zhong Pu.
Now Zhong Pu is retired, but he continues to study the Bible and oversee the development of the church.
(The writer is a staff writer at The Gospel Times.)
-Translated by Nicolas Cao