Equipping Lay Preachers

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According to China Christian Council/TSPM, there are 190,000 lay preachers and leaders in China. They play a critical role in assisting the pastors to shepherd some 40 million Christians. UBS help by giving out free Bible reference books and resources to these lay preachers, so that they will be better equipped for ministry. We met up with two of them from Shandong Province who share with us their stories.

Zhang Qingsheng, 66, received Bible resources sponsored by UBS at a Bible training organised by Taian CC/TSPM. The one he is holding is entitled “Ministry to the Glory of God”.

For a large part of his life, Zhang Qingsheng, 66, had been a secondary school teacher, imparting knowledge on Physics and explaining Mathematical formulas and equations.

After retiring from the teaching profession in 2011, Zhang who was then a non-believer, began joining his wife at Sunday church services. Six months later, he received Christ.

“God revealed the truth to me from the book of Genesis. And I moved from evolution to creation. I believe in God because the logic is clear and in line with reality. That’s the truth.”

Today, he continues to teach passionately but on an entirely different subject matter and setting. He is one of the lay preachers in Taian city, Shandong Province, serving believers living in a rural, coal mining area.

To equip himself, Zhang attended a Bible training organised by the Taian CC/ TSPM in 2016 where he received the Bible resources sponsored by UBS and was taught how to use them.

Zhang travels to the different rural churches about four times a week to do Bible reading and Bible study with the believers. “People there are hungry to be fed. But sometimes they tend to read the Bible too literally and interpret it wrongly.”

“In the rural areas, there are cult groups giving out free heretical printed materials and CDs. Some only preach about grace. So, it’s important that preachers have authorised and trusted Bible resources from which we can share and teach the believers. For this we thank UBS for your gifts!”

Lu Jing, 60, a lay preacher in Taian city, teaches a group of five elderly believers how to read and understand the Bible.

Lu Jing, 60, loves to read novels. She had heard about the Bible when she started work as a young lady in a steel company but couldn’t get hold of one. “During those days, the Bible was scarce. But thank God that one day I saw one on a colleague’s desk!” A non-believer then, Lu was curious why the Bible is the world’s best-selling book and asked to borrow the Bible from her colleague.

Lu began to be interested in Christianity and visited a rural church nearby. “What caught my attention was that the people looked poor and rather ignorant. They were kneeling on the ground, praying. It was my first time seeing people pray like that and to be honest I felt some contempt for them. But they soon surrounded and prayed for me by name, and blessed me, and I was so touched. I was moved by their love and devotion. They are poor but rich in their hearts!”

Lu then began to pray every morning and night. She then asked a colleague to accompany her for the church service and this colleague converted before Lu did. “One day while praying, I saw a bright light which I believe was God’s presence with me. I surrendered my life to him and was baptized a few months later.”

Some years later, Lu’s husband came to faith when he was ill with cancer. Before he passed away, he told Lu, “I will go there first and tell you how it looks like.” “Then a few days later, I dreamt of him in a garden, telling me that his illness is all gone, that there is no lack there. So I’m assured that he is with God now.”

Today, Lu is a lay preacher in Taian city. One of her responsibilities is to teach a group of five elderly believers how to read and understand the Bible. “Many of the elderly believers are illiterate but they are so keen to learn to read the Bible and know what God says in the Bible. Now many can read on their own. They also keep God’s Word in their hearts by memorising the Bible.

“It’s important that believers not just read but also learn from the Bible and allow the Word of God to correct our thinking and beliefs which are not according to His ways. Thank you for the Bible resources donated by UBS which help us to learn more from God’s Word.”

 

Story: Cynthia Oh
Edited: Angela Teo
Photo: Cynthia Oh/UBS CP
2020 © United Bible Societies China Partnership