I met Pastor Cheng while on a teaching trip in China several years ago. By that time he had taken a number of our online Bible institute courses. He served a congregation in a village outside of the huge city we were visiting. He brought a half dozen church leaders with him. In addition five Christian women leaders from the city joined us. Those women were only able to come part time because their unbelieving husbands limited their attendance.
We met in a hotel room deep in the city. Everyone crammed into one room, a medium-sized hotel room with two queen-sized beds, a desk and chair, and two night stands overwhelming the space. My class sat on the beds, the desk chair, and on the window sill. The windows, opened to provide ventilation, sucked in the noise of the busy street, street vendors, and pedestrian/shoppers.
But for two days, in spite of the uncomfortable arrangements and the noisy distractions from below, the class paid rapt attention to my lessons on Romans 1-8. They took notes. They discussed. They asked questions. And they asked for advice on church and personal issues.
Together we grew in our appreciation for God’s grace and the freedom from the law it brings. We rejoiced to study passages like: “The righteousness of God... is given through faith in Jesus Christ” (3:21,22). “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (5:8). “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (8:1).
I met Pastor Cheng in person again last fall. This time we went to his village church where he had assembled 30 leaders from his and other churches to learn with us from God’s Word. Then he accompanied us to a church in the city where we taught 60 church leaders. From those gatherings we now have two dozen more students.
Pastor Cheng is a lot like many of the church leaders 316NOW instructs through our online Bible institute. There they have found a clarity of teaching about God’s Word they haven’t encountered before; their appreciation of grace grows; and their desire to share what they have learned drives them on.
Ask the Spirit to supply his believers in China many more pastors like Pastor Cheng.