"God's mind and plan are not only about the salvation of an individual, but more importantly about the salvation of all nations, all peoples, and all states by every saved person. The pastors of the church need to know that there is not only a salvation plan for people in God's plan but also a plan for all nations."
Pastor Pan Huaqiang (pseudonym) is a pastor from southern China who has planted churches in different provinces. Starting in 2016, his church began a radical transformation, and the core of that transformation and change resulted from his realization that the church needs to reemphasize its mission and does its utmost to fulfill it.
Recently, Pastor Pan shared with the Christian Times, an online Christian newspaper in China, his thoughts on why the church in China needs to resume its mission.
Pastor Pan said, "The church in China has developed a lot in the past 20 years on the outside, but its development is characterized by a model dominated by the church's own internal needs." Most pastors emphasize "me, myself, and I" in the church revival rather than "all nations, all people, and all states" that the Great Commission requires.
"The church in China is now in a very dangerous situation. The whole church community in China has forgotten about its mission," Pan said. The churches in China are all confused, and the church groups use their greatest strength not to fight the enemy but to fight themselves. "This is internal friction, and this is a breach that will waste the strength of the church."
Pastor Pan spoke of the church's relationship to Christ's Great Commission using the metaphor of a groom and bride. "The church is the bride of Christ, and what the bride needs to do is respond to her husband. If your daughter wears a wedding dress one day, it means that she will do nothing else but greet and wait for her groom, and she will not do the usual worldly things. In the same way, the church will not waste its own strength to satisfy its own development needs but will know how to please Jesus' heart and fulfill the Great Commission. She is no longer with the whole world. The bride is different from the status it had before in the world. As a church, it needs to strive to spread the gospel to all peoples, all nations, and all states. More and more saved people are the bride's dowry. He (Christ) will come to us when all the peoples of the world come together to worship him.”
Pastor Pan again used the marriage relationship to explain this. "There is a girl who is often looked down upon because she looks ordinary, has no skill, can't make money, and is not good at speaking. But suddenly one day, I found that she was much nobler than me. Why? Because she married my brother. My brother has an expensive car, a beautiful house, and is quite influential. In the end, she has a higher social status than me, and I need to call her madam. Therefore, it is important for the church today to understand the fact that the bride of the church is to be married to the King of Kings and to participate in the noblest feast. If the greatest strength of the church is not used to fight back against the states, it is against God's will."
"There will be a lot of resistance and misunderstanding as we push the church back to the Great Commission," Pan said. “There are three main reasons for this: the temptation of vanity, the temptation of control, and the temptation of comfort."
"Personal salvation is not God's ultimate goal, but the salvation of all nations through each saved person. The church must not lose sight of this great mission. God blesses all nations and the whole earth through every saved person and every saved nation."
"When the church loses its mission, it will start to move toward decline. Now the church in China no longer has the support of the mission. The pastors should fight the national war for Christ, and the elite "soldiers" raised in the church should fight the war of saving their nations. The apostles struggle in the outside world, and the prophets should shout within the church."
"The Chinese church should stop using all its forces to fight its own people instead of the enemy, and this pattern should be changed," Pastor Pan added.
- Translated by Nicolas Cao