Some years ago, I responded to an invitation to travel to Mainland China to minister to eighty key leaders of the underground church movements in their nation. I was utterly amazed by what I experienced during the few days I spent with these humble men and women of God. As I listened to the miraculous stories of the Lord’s faithfulness as they minister from house to house, I was deeply moved. They taught me so much more than I could have ever taught them.
Ninety five percent of these leaders—many who traveled four days by train to get to the leadership training seminar—had been in prison for their faith. One elderly Chinese leader had just been released from prison four days before our meetings. During breakfast one morning, we asked one of the leaders seated at our table about his responsibilities in the Chinese church. He proceeded to tell us very humbly that he is responsible to oversee 10 million believers meeting in house churches throughout his homeland. I never met anyone before anywhere in the world that oversees so many believers meeting from house to house!
Thousands coming to Christ daily
More than 25,000 people are coming to Christ every day in China. Believers meet together in their homes for teaching from the Bible, prayer, and sharing a common vision to reach the lost in their communities with the Good News of Jesus. There are over 80 million believers in these house churches in China today. The Chinese church has a vision to train 100,000 missionaries to go into the Muslim world to take the Good News to the millions in spiritual darkness. This is the most strategically organized church in the world! God has poured out so much grace on the Chinese church meeting in these “underground” house churches.
They asked me to speak from the scriptures on the Lord’s call on our lives to become spiritual fathers and mothers. After some of the teaching sessions, these humble servants of the Lord stood to pray, repenting before the Lord for “missing the mark.” They felt the Lord revealed to them that they had been so focused on the work of God, they had not been concerned enough about the workers of God. They repented deeply before the Lord in prayer.
It was extremely convicting and humbling for me to be with them. These saints, who are probably experiencing the greatest move of God in the history of the world, have remained so open and tender before the Lord.
What can we learn?
First of all, for our Chinese brothers and sisters, meeting in small groups from house to house is not just a Christian activity. It’s a way of life! They have already made a commitment that when freedom comes to their nation, they will continue on with house to house ministry. They are following in the footsteps of the early church, and they are intent on continuing on this path.
Secondly, the humility and dependency on the Lord these Chinese brothers and sisters are modeling is desperately needed in our lives and in the church in our own nation. We asked them to pray for those of us on our small American team. We often have so much pride in our “fresh initiatives” and our “new ideas.” They graciously laid their hands on us and prayed. We will never be the same.
I came home from China changed forever. The Chinese believers are leading the way as they practically minister the life of Christ from house to house. Let us learn from the humility and desperation for God that our brothers and sisters in China are modeling for us. As we serve in our cell groups and local churches, we also must quickly repent when the Lord reveals to us we have “missed the mark.”
Printed in Cell Group Journal, Summer 2001