Friday Reflection – A Story of Renewal

Friday Reflections is a new series on the China Partnership blog. Twice a month, we will share a short reflection from a Chinese pastor on the nature of the gospel. Though we often post longer articles, there is a richness to short and concise thoughts. 

Wang Jianguo is the collective pseudonym for a group of Chinese house church pastors thinking and writing about issues related to the spread of Christianity in their nation. They are committed to preaching a grace-centered gospel, developing resources for the church, and loving China’s urban centers.

In the past, our churches were oriented towards different ministries. We felt that through our various ministries, our churches would be revived. We learned how to preach evangelistically; we learned how to do discipleship; we learned all kinds of ministry strategies. We hoped to revive the church with such ministries. 

All of the tinkering I had been doing in the church did not bring much fruit. In 2012, I first attended a training in gospel theology, and through that training I realized that the problem was not that the church was slouching in its ministry, but that there is something wrong with the DNA of what we believed. When we wished to revive the church through various ministries, we were still treading in legalism, humanism, and self-redemption. I realized that gospel theology was a way out for the church, and so I preached diligently on the renewal of the gospel. 

In the following years, the church started to be renewed. In these few years all of our ministries have stemmed from the gospel and have been renewed by grace. It is not according to our own diligence to accomplish something; rather, when we preach the gospel unceasingly, we know that we will be filled with grace such that it will overflow. When this happens, the church will slowly be renewed. The first to be renewed are individuals, like a sour grape after it has been grafted into a tree. Only by persisting onwards will the church then be renewed by grace. When everybody enjoys the peace and joy that is in the gospel, we will all slowly be renewed. 


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It is important to consider homiletics. I teach this course in seminary, and in the past when I taught, my emphasis was more on the text itself, not on being Christ- and gospel-centered. After learning about Christ-centered preaching, it has brought nothing short of a revolution to my sermons. As I have preached in the seminary, many students have wanted to take this course and have been renewed by it. And when they return to their churches, their churches subsequently experience renewal.

Recently, a student found me and told me that when he returned back to his home church after the homiletics course last semester, the entire church experienced renewal. His team members said that his preaching indeed was different from the past. In our church, there have also been many changes, and this is something I did not expect. 

The first mark of a healthy church is good expository preaching. If every church has gospel-centered, Christ-centered preaching, the church will inevitably change. I am very thankful that participating in the course on Christ-centered preaching has brought so many blessings to other churches. 

The gospel is the power of God, to save everyone who believes; therefore, it must be replicable. After my personal renewal by the gospel, we have established a training center in my own church. In the past, our training centers seemed to be without a core when we were teaching theology. But now we are gospel-centered, and Christ-centered in our theological education, and so when other ministry partners come to be trained, we especially give this theology of the gospel to them. When they return back to their churches, they are bringing this renewal of the gospel in their own church. Other than our church, the regional churches are also experiencing the renewal of the gospel, and I believe that this is completely replicable. 

Translation provided by the China Partnership translation team.

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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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Shenyang is a city located in northeastern China and is the capital of Liaoning Province. It is known for its rich history and cultural heritage, including the Shenyang Imperial Palace, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Shenyang is also a hub for China’s heavy industry, with companies such as the China First Automobile Group and the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation having their headquarters in the city.

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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 Xiamen

Xiamen is a city located in southeastern China and is a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful coastal scenery, including Gulangyu Island, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city is also a hub for China’s high-tech industry, with companies such as Huawei and ZTE having research and development centers in Xiamen.

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About Guangzhou

Guangzhou, also known as Canton, is a city located in southern China and is the capital of Guangdong Province. It is one of the country’s largest and most prosperous cities, serving as a major transportation and trading hub for the region. Guangzhou is renowned for its modern architecture, including the Canton Tower and the Guangzhou Opera House, as well as its Cantonese cuisine, which is famous for its variety and bold flavors. The city also has a rich history, with landmarks such as the Chen Clan Ancestral Hall, the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, and the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees. Additionally, Guangzhou hosts the annual Canton Fair, the largest trade fair in China.

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About Kunming

Kunming is a city located in southwest China and is the capital of Yunnan Province. Known as the “City of Eternal Spring” for its mild climate, Kunming is a popular tourist destination due to its natural beauty and cultural diversity. The city is home to several scenic spots, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Stone Forest, Dian Lake, and the Western Hills. Kunming is also famous for its unique cuisine, which features a mix of Han, Yi, and Bai ethnic flavors. The city has a rich cultural history, with ancient temples and shrines like the Yuantong Temple and the Golden Temple, and it’s also a hub for Yunnan’s ethnic minority cultures, such as the Yi and Bai peoples.

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About Shenzhen

Shenzhen is a city located in southeastern China and is one of the country’s fastest-growing metropolises. The city is renowned for its thriving tech industry, with companies such as Huawei, Tencent, and DJI having their headquarters in Shenzhen. The city also has a vibrant cultural scene, with numerous museums, art galleries, and parks. Shenzhen is also known for its modern architecture, such as the Ping An Finance Center and the Shenzhen Bay Sports Center. Despite its modernization, Shenzhen also has a rich history and cultural heritage, with landmarks such as the Dapeng Fortress and the Chiwan Tin Hau Temple.

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About Chengdu

Chengdu is a city located in the southwestern region of China, and the capital of Sichuan province. It has a population of over 18 million people, and it is famous for its spicy Sichuan cuisine, laid-back lifestyle, and its cute and cuddly residents – the giant pandas. Chengdu is home to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, where visitors can observe these adorable creatures in their natural habitat. The city also boasts a rich cultural heritage, with numerous temples, museums, and historical sites scattered throughout its boundaries. Chengdu is a city of contrasts, with ancient traditions coexisting alongside modern developments, making it an intriguing and fascinating destination for visitors to China. 

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About Beijing

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About Shanghai

Shanghai is a vibrant and dynamic city located on the eastern coast of China. It is the largest city in China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of over 24 million people. Shanghai is a global financial hub and a major center for international trade, with a rich history and culture that spans over 1,000 years. The city is famous for its iconic skyline, which features towering skyscrapers such as the Oriental Pearl Tower and the Shanghai Tower. Shanghai is also home to a diverse culinary scene, world-class museums and art galleries, and numerous shopping districts. It is a city that is constantly evolving and reinventing itself, making it a fascinating destination for visitors from around the world.

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