One of our Bible institute professors who traveled in China in October for 316NOW shares this reflection.
I wonder how many members of our church body would choose a home based on whether it has space for starting a church.
Of course, you, along with most everyone who is reading this blog post, have probably settled into a congregation that is relatively close, maybe just down the street. You have no need to use your home to start a church. For Bible-believing Christians in China, that is most often not the case.
316NOW teaches a number of Chinese Christians who use their homes to host a church.
One husband and wife team we know hosts a small group of Christians in their home. Since they are the best instructed about the Scriptures, they also serve as leaders for their group. Both are highly educated; the husband has a Ph.D., the wife is nearing completion of her Ph.D. Both have studied with our online Bible institute. One has served as a translator for us.
They organized their group several years ago. Fifteen to twenty people regularly attend the Bible studies and worship services. Serving as shepherds for the group is a huge commitment of time and energy, especially since both have full-time careers as educators. Their adolescent daughter also requires their attention.
They have lived in the top floor of their six-story, walk-up apartment for about five years. They told me how they prayed for a home with a second story so they would have a place to accommodate their small church. They fell in love with this apartment. But three other couples stood in line to lease it before them. Then something remarkable happened. One by one those couples chose other places. The Lord opened this large home for them and their gathering of believers.
This couple is a huge inspiration to me. Their commitment to serving Jesus and to helping others come to know him encourages me to redouble my effort to do the same.