HEBEI, China - The vast expanse of Hebei's Baoding region is home to 264 registered churches which are served by 150 dedicated ordained ministers and over 600 faithful lay preachers. These church workers are responsible for the spiritual nurturing and well-being of about 30,000 believers. However, they have inadequate biblical resources and Christian literature to support them in their ministry.
Here’s a story of a group of 90 ordinary lay preachers with an extraordinary commitment, ignited by a shared purpose, to have a deeper understanding of God’s Word and biblical wisdom to nurture and lead their congregations well.
In July 2023, this group of lay preachers attended a training program organised by the Hebei Christian Council and Three-Self Patriotic Movement (CC&TSPM) and held at the Bethel Church in Baoding. The two-week training was a golden opportunity to be equipped with tools that will deepen their faith and support their teaching and preaching ministry.
On the third day of the training, a shipment of 300 sets of biblical resources arrived. These were provided by the Hebei CC&TSPM with the support of the United Bible Societies (UBS). These resources include:
- The Chinese Study Bible, which contains study notes translated and adapted from Crossway’s ESV Study Bible.
- Be Joyful: Even When Things Go Wrong, You Can Have Joy (Philippians) by Warren Wiersbe
- Be Wise: Discern the Difference Between Man’s Knowledge and God’s Wisdom (I Corinthians) by Warren Wiersbe
- Be Encouraged: God Can Turn Your Trials into Triumphs (2 Corinthians) by Warren Wiersbe
- Be Free: Exchange Legalism for True Spirituality (Galatians) by Warren Wiersbe
- Be Rich: Gaining the Things That Money Can’t Buy (Ephesians) by Warren Wiersbe
- Be Faithful: It’s Always Too Soon to Quit! (I & II Timothy, Titus, Philemon) by Warren Wiersbe
- Be Ready: Living in Light of Christ’s Return (I & II Thessalonians) by Warren Wiersbe
- Be Confident: Live by Faith, Not by Sight (Hebrews) by Warren Wiersbe
- The Lord's Prayer in Daily Life by C. Bath
What happened next was nothing short of remarkable. Despite their fatigue from the morning's intensive sessions, the lay preachers willingly sacrificed their lunch break, coming together to sort, categorise, and package these precious resources.
As they worked together, the lay preachers expressed their deep appreciation for these resources. One lay preacher shared, "These collections of books are a treasure trove. We rarely have access to such valuable materials. With these books, our sermons will have more depth and accuracy, enabling us to guide our congregations more effectively." Their enthusiasm was apparent, and their dedication to the task at hand was inspiring.
In the midst of unboxing and sorting, a prevailing sentiment emerged among them: gratitude. They were thankful that their needs were met in such specific ways. These resources are more than mere gifts; they are invaluable tools that will empower the preachers with greater wisdom and understanding of the Bible. “This generous act is a divine answer to our prayers,” one lay preacher exclaimed.
"These collections of books are a treasure trove. We rarely have access to such valuable materials. With these books, our sermons will have more depth and accuracy, enabling us to guide our congregations more effectively."
After the training, these lay preachers returned to their respective churches armed with knowledge, inspiration, and a comprehensive set of resources. With renewed strength, they began to teach and preach with the insights they had gained, igniting a ripple effect of spiritual growth and empowerment within their congregations. Indeed, the story of Baoding's lay preachers serves as a testament to the positive impact of supporting the Churches in China with biblical resources and Christian literature. Praise God that the impact of this support has extended far beyond our imagination.
But their journey is far from over. As the lay preachers strive to deepen their understanding of the Bible and strengthen their ministry, the need for more resources remains. They continue to pray for like-minded Christians to journey alongside them and support them to spread the truth of God’s Word throughout Hebei's Baoding region and beyond.
You can be a part of this journey. Your support can empower these humble servants of God to touch more lives and nurture the faith of many. Together, let us support the Churches in China to build up more Chinese believers in the Word of God so that they can be a blessing to many more across China.
2024@UBS China Partnership