Don’t Just Preach, Disciple: Family Foundations

Editor’s note: Gu Junqing grew up in a Christian family and came to believe in the Lord at an early age. This is the fifth and final part of his story, and Gu talks about how he says many Chinese Christians enthusiastically sharing the gospel, but are lacking follow-up and discipleship. To build a strong faith, he believes churches need to bring the focus to teaching people how to study God’s Word. He also thinks discipling and strengthening Christian families should be a strong priority.

This story is part of an ongoing series of interviews with Chinese Christians about how they came to know and follow God, and has been edited and condensed for clarity and length. Parts one, two, and three, and four of Gu’s story can be found here.

A Long Pathway to Mature Faith

CP: There are many new Christians in your church, about your same age. Like you, they also have families. How can the church support and help brand-new believers who want to raise their children in the church?

Gu: There are probably two pathways. One is to keep evangelizing and having new Christians. But it is a long process for new Christians to truly understand the faith. Many people need 10 to 20 years to find true faith.

There are many churches now. Even though you see a lot of so-called Christians in China, the question is, “How many are real believers?” That is my concern. It’s just like the Bible says; Jesus may say, to a great number of people who call him, “Lord, Lord,” that he never knew them. That is the current situation in China. China is full of people everywhere, and there are many people who believe anything. You feel there are a lot of people who believe in Christianity, but there are also a lot of people who believe in Buddhism or in Daoism. Even though there are so many Christians, how many of them possess genuine faith and truly seek God?

The church’s teaching should mainly be about instructing in truth and helping these people actually understand the faith.

The church’s teaching should mainly be about instructing in truth and helping these people actually understand the faith. Many people go preaching the gospel, but later they find out that what they are doing is not grounded in truth. Even though many people prayed the sinner’s prayer, that does not mean they are truly saved. This is a problem. It is critical that the church help people be truly saved. Not just preaching the gospel, but edifying these people. The problem is, from what I’ve seen, most churches don’t yet understand biblical truth.

When we were in southern China, we went to several different churches. The reason is some churches, although they were meeting together and were very fervent, many times they taught erroneously and didn’t accept truth. That is one problem.

The other problem is that those Christians who do have a true understanding of faith, they need to nurture the next generation [in their own family] in addition to serving the church. Young people of our generation need to bear a great deal. It is a lot of pressure, and a big burden because there are too many things to do and too much work to accomplish. A lot of people may have done a great job spreading the gospel and many people may have learned about faith. But this is just understanding. It does not mean they are truly saved.

CP: You are saying that they need more Bible teaching?

Gu: Right. I think now China does not need the false stuff.


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Teach God’s Word and Build the Family

CP: Then do you think there are already enough people focusing on evangelism?

Gu: There are not yet enough. It is just that evangelism is a superficial work, and no one has really studied it. No one has truly examined what the genuine problem is and what the real internal needs of people are. All of China is impetuous and hasty. Everyone is busy, but they do not know what they are busy doing. Although many people serve, I think the right direction and the most important thing is to teach God’s truth and God’s word.

A lot of ministries sound great, but many times they do not seem to get into the hearts of people. I feel that is a problem. There are some basic things that need to be done. If you are in the church, the most important thing is to teach God’s Word: study the Bible chapter by chapter, verse by verse. You must come to understand it well, so you will know what God is really telling you.

Young people of our generation need to bear a great deal. It is a lot of pressure, and a big burden because there are too many things to do and too much work to accomplish.

I often ask others, “Do you really know what the Bible says?” A lot of people believe fervently, but they don’t know what God says. They are doing a lot of work, but not what truly needs to be done. The church is supposed to teach the Word of God. It is also important for the church to build Christian families so there will be a legacy.

I think it is strange that many preachers in China are so busy, to the point that they don’t look after their children. This is a habit of Chinese people. They feel their work is important, their ministry is important, and serving the church is important – but they don’t want to serve their own family. This reflects the mentality of Chinese people. they are always trying to grow, to get bigger and have more people, but they are not really doing the right thing. They are immature.

CP: It is a big problem and it seems there is no easy way to fix it. It takes prayer, and it takes time.

Gu Junqing is a pseudonym for a Chinese believer. Gu grew up in a Christian family and has believed in Christ from an early age. He and his wife have two children.

Pray for Chinese churches to have wisdom in both evangelizing non-believers, and also strongly discipling and teaching new and existing believers.

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Further Reading

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Nanjing: Bringing the Gospel Into Life
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Nanjing: A Welcoming City of Newcomers
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Nanjing: A Relational Gospel
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LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA

With rising pressure and persecution in China, there are two challenges imperative for church leaders. The first challenge is for current leaders to love Christ above all else, and not to stray into legalism or love of the world. The second challenge is to raise up the next generation of leaders, who will humbly model Jesus even if current leaders are arrested.

WILL YOU JOIN US IN PRAYING FOR LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA? PRAY FOR:

  1. Current leaders to grow in their daily walks with Christ
  2. Current leaders to shepherd and raise up new leaders
  3. New leaders who love Christ and will model him to the world
  4. New leaders to love and care for the church

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ABOUT LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

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Qingdao is a city located in eastern China and is famous for its beaches, beer, and seafood. The city is home to several landmarks, including the Zhanqiao Pier and the Badaguan Scenic Area. Qingdao is also a major port and has a thriving economy, with industries such as electronics, petrochemicals, and machinery.

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About Guangzhou

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About Chengdu

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About Beijing

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About Shanghai

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