Refreshing and Invigorating the Shepherds

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JIANGSU, China The second Jiangsu Pastors’ Training was held from 18-22 April at Jiangsu Theological Seminary. Attended by 70 elders, pastors and preachers from Xuzhou, Huaian, Zhengjiang, Suqian and Nantong, this continuing education supported by UBS is Jiangsu Christian Council/TSPM’s way of strengthening the preaching and teaching capabilities of key church leaders throughout the province. (Photo: Participants of the training, invited guests, instructors and staff members of Jiangsu Theological Seminary)

The two invited instructors were Rev Phua Chee Seng from Chen Li Presbyterian Church, Singapore and Dr Simon Wong, UBS Translation Consultant. Gracing the opening were Bishop John Chew, UBS Global Council Member, Rev Zhang Keyun, Jiangsu CC/TSPM Chairman and Mr Zhang Quanlu, Deputy Director-General of the Jiangsu Administration Religious Affairs.

In his opening address, Bishop Chew emphasised the place of Scripture in Church life, “It is important to build a strong foundation for the Church in China. The recent earthquakes that occurred in various parts of the world […] show us that disintegration happens gradually underground where the eye cannot see. In this context, it is therefore such a blessing to be able to study the Word – the Unchanging Word in uncertain times.”

In his speech, Rev Zhang Keyun shared his analysis of the current church scene in Jiangsu, “We are entering into a new phase – from an emphasis on hardware to software. We need to focus on moulding people and developing their talents, thus upgrading the quality of our pastors and preachers.”

On the purpose for the weeklong event, he said, “Shepherds take care of their flock, but who takes care of them? This training allows them to take a break from ministry and recharge. Coming from different churches with various needs and demands, it is an opportunity for all of them to lay aside their ministry burdens, put aside their worries and receive some spiritual nourishment.”

Dr Wong taught the class how to use the CSB as a reference tool.

Rev Phua Chee Seng shared new perspectives on the theology of worship and worship order and Dr Wong taught the participants Bible study methods and how to use the recently launched Chinese Study Bible -NT (CSB)* as a reference tool. Dr Wong was the translation consultant of the CSB-NT and is currently working on the CSB-OT. Each participant was presented a copy of CBS-NT and many welcome it as a useful resource for their personal Bible study and sermon preparation.

What did the participants think about the sessions? Many felt it was good to take time out to receive training again. Most wanted more of such trainings and agreed it should at least be an annual event. Both instructors were very well received and in the course of their teaching had brought up aspects of ministry and spiritual life that participants had not considered before.

The Nanjing CC/TSPM Assistant General-Secretary and pastor of Shengguang Church and Taowu Church, Rev Wu Jiangang had been pastoring for 10 years. “It is good to take a break from ministry and learn here. Rev Pan’s session on the theology of worship and worship order is beneficial to me; including the part about our heart attitude in making announcements during worship service was discussed. Dr. Wong taught us how to go deeper into the Word, which is good.”

Participants taking notes in class

Pastor of the 1200-strong Daosheng Church in Nanjing City, 39-year-old Rev Ji Yijun, shared, “I appreciate Rev Pan’s sharing from his wealth of experience in shepherding and leading his church congregation. Dr. Wong introduced new and practical Bible study methods, which I can use with my church small groups. I enjoy learning from his interactive style of teaching.”

Jock Foo, UBS China Partnership Programme Manager, adds, “It is encouraging and an honour for UBS to be a part of this essential province-wide effort to help pastors be recharged and to learning continuously. In this round of training, we have reached a select group of the pastors and preachers in Jiangsu. We hope to continue to support such a needful program in Jiangsu and in time, for other provinces.”

We thank God for the successful completion of the 2016 Jiangsu Pastors’ Training. With more funding, this training model can be brought to other provinces for the benefit of more pastoral staff and church leaders.

 

Story: Angela Teo
Edited: Cynthia Oh
Photo:  UBS CP
2016 © United Bible Societies China Partnership

*Look out for our next story on the CSB and how pastors in China are responding to it.