Friday Reflection – The Importance of Community for Gospel Renewal

Twice a month, we 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.

I have rediscovered the importance of the gospel through my personal journey. Throughout the process, I have come to realize that it is not just brothers and sisters in the church, nor is it the brothers and sisters whom I serve who need the renewal of the gospel, but I myself. I need the word of God to speak to my own life, especially my idolatries. 

In my own ministry, in church governance, and even in educating my children, I am exposed to the far-reaching consequences of certain idols. In governing the church, I am sometimes quite stern with the brothers and sisters, and I recognize that I have not focused on their lives but more on the order of the church. In the end, I have realized that I pay a lot more attention to how people acknowledge and accept me and what I am doing, as if it concerned my own reputation. There is a strong desire for me to control the entire church. For example, when a person does not come for worship, my concern is not his weakness. This desire for control and the approval of others is very real for pastors and preachers. 

The idea of community is very important. I am a solo kind of guy and I am not very willing to be open about myself. But in the recent years of learning and training and serving alongside others, I have truly seen that there is a community being built in the midst of the process. In this process, there is a healthy atmosphere of putting the gospel first so that the brothers and sisters are bold and encouraged to be open about themselves. Because we are in the gospel, everyone can treat each other like Christ. So, in this environment, everyone feels safe in the community, and they are willing to expose their weaknesses. This has improved my relationship with my team members. 

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There is also the community built between different churches. In the past, we did not have much interaction, but through the [church planting program’s] small groups we continue to analyze ourselves and expose the weaknesses that we experience in our ministries. We pray for one another, so that churches in the same cities have opportunities for deeper interaction. The staff members of many churches have formed relationships in community, which is particularly conducive to establishing a gospel ecosystem in the city, and for this I am grateful. It is important for one’s church to be in community with other churches. One cannot fulfill the Great Commission alone, and so we must be united in fulfilling the Great Commission of Christ together.  

Translation provided by the China Partnership translation team.

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