Pressing Problems of Rural Communities Lacking Pastors

A picture of a golden rice field
A picture of a golden rice field (photo:
By Esther TianDecember 28th, 2022

Born in the 1960s, an enthusiastic believer in Northeast China is worried about the rural fields of spiritual harvest.

Retiring from ministries of service in the choir and as a group leader, a female believer surnamed Lin, living in a small fifth-tier city, often goes to the surrounding countryside with her husband or female Christians to evangelize the unreached. She also is frequently homesick for her relatives in the countryside where she was born.

Recently, Lin told the Christian Times, an online Chinese Christian newspaper, about her worries about how to shepherd these new believers in the countryside. She finds new seekers whenever she visits villages.

Lin said: "I feel a great burden for the countryside, for I see God's heart for the unreached from past experiences. Most of the time when I go out, I find people who are willing to accept the Gospel. But we cannot accompany and shepherd them for a long time, so some become weak in their faith.”

A very important practical problem is that rural churches lack pastors. Lin shared that she often went out to search for lost sheep with female church members and saw God working then. They always came back happily after reaping a spiritual harvest, having led the new followers in praise, prayer and prayers of confession. After a period of time, they would go visit them again in order to strengthen their faith. After accepting the Gospel, some people would set up a place in their homes to attract villagers to come to listen to the Word and to testimonies. However, they noticed that a family’s faith would often slacken as a site rarely flourished without pastoral care.

Lin also tried methods such as sending audio recordings, which some senior rural people might not be able to understand. She said: “My elder sister’s home is a meeting point, where only three or five people gather to sing hymns and pray without anyone teaching the Bible. In such challenging environments, some remain spiritually weak without the truth being proclaimed. When her faith was weak, my elder sister refrained from worshiping God and instead played mahjong with the people in the village. It’s best if I go there to encourage her, but I can’t stay there all the time. I have to wait until my husband is not working or go there with another staff member."

“There are various obstacles, as some need to do chores, take care of grandchildren, or need to work otherwise. When I have time, sometimes I can’t find staff workers who are free when I am. Without receiving theological education, I can only share what I know and experience,” she added. 

- Translated by Abigail Wu

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