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Entering the ministry in China: the threat of cults

Author: Simon Bartz, 24 June 2021

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Pastor Feng Chao says pastors in China often find it challenging balancing church duties with caring for their family.

When churches in China were forced to shut their doors during the pandemic, cult groups used the internet to try and lure people away from the truth.

‘As churches were closed, people were consuming all sorts of content online,’ said Feng Chao, pastor at a rural church in Shandong in East China. ‘Some believers who are not able to distinguish falsehood from what is true have been lured away to join cult groups.’

Illiterate or semi-illiterate rural believers who cannot read the Bible themselves and rely on ministers and church fellowship were particularly vulnerable. 

Elderly believers were also at risk. With a lower level of digital literacy they were unable to access their church’s WeChat (an all-in-one messaging app that is a combination of the equivalent of Facebook, WhatsApp, Google News and more) official accounts to listen to sermons online. Instead, it was all too easy to stumble upon false teachings online. It is akin to looking for a fact online, and finding so much false news.

The situation of many of these believers in China is made more difficult by a shortage of pastors and preachers. It’s estimated that there is just one trained pastor for every 6,700 Christians in China.

This is something that Bible Society supporters are helping to remedy. Thanks to your support, every year Bible Society provides top-quality church leadership training as well as scholarships for young Bible students to encourage them to enter the ministry. 

Juggling family life with mission

Han Xue’s church has 1,000 members.

Han Xue graduated from a seminary college in 2018 and now ministers at a 1,000-member church. She hopes that more young people will step up to serve. ‘Personally, I also hope to have a good marriage life, please remember me in prayers!’ she said. (Xue was to marry two weeks after speaking to us!)

Xue’s comments about her impending marriage might seem normal on the surface, but in China combining ministry with a normal family life can be very challenging. 

Feng, who warned about the cults, added, ‘I hope that church workers will have a better work life balance and keep ourselves healthy.’ Feng confessed that his church duties have sometimes prevented him from attending Meet-the-Parents sessions at his daughter’s school. 

If you would like to share a prayer for pastors and preachers in China please go to our China Prayer Tree. If you would like to support the training of church workers and education of Bible students in China then please click on the donate button below.

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