Every Disciple Is An Individual

Editor’s note: This month we are praying for Beijing. As we pray for Beijing, we are publishing several interviews with Beijing believers. We also wanted to re-publish a few previous interviews, from the first time we intentionally prayed for Beijing. In today’s post, a Beijing pastor shares about how he trains disciples.

This post has been slightly edited and condensed since the first time it appeared in 2018.

Challenges in Disciple Training

CP: What is Beijing like as a city?

Pastor: Beijing is a multicultural city with many young people moving in. The population fluctuates greatly. 

CP: With so many people from all over China moving in, Beijing must be representative of a lot of cultures. What are the biggest challenges to discipleship training?

Pastor: One of the biggest challenges is being too formulaic. We could easily assume we are done with discipleship training once we’ve completed some classes. But discipleship is far from done.

The second challenge is that, out of all the people from all over the country, those who stay in Beijing are so well-educated they might be resistant to more formal education at the church.

The third challenge is the large amount of time needed for training disciples. It’s extremely strenuous for the pastor to devote so much energy to it. But it is a very important matter that cannot be neglected, so sometimes it is very tiresome.

The third challenge is the large amount of time needed for training disciples… It is a very important matter that cannot be neglected.

Real Life Examples

CP: Training disciples is not formulaic. In your opinion, what should it look like?

Pastor: I have made many adjustments. The first was in format. I still use teaching materials; but in adult education, we should not stop with information transfer. Mentoring is most needed.

Never miss a story

Sign up to receive our weekly email with our original articles.

I was influenced by [a large discipleship ministry]. I personally grew with them for about ten years. I am deeply convinced that mentoring is very important. Almost every month for the past three years, I’ve spent time with our ministry workers. Many of our full-time workers spend a lot of time together, sometimes the entire day. Other than having a meal and sharing, I talk about a discipleship topic and its application for real life. I listen to their feedback, and present them with biblical views on these topics.

We do not just stop at information transfer. When we can integrate information with real life application, it can be a great benefit to them. I’ve noticed their growth. Whether in theology, in applying truth, or in their commitment to the church, they have grown tremendously.

Every disciple is an individual case with individual, real life stories.

On the other hand, I’m also making breakthroughs in traditional ways of shepherding. I spend two lunches at workplaces every week, visiting disciples to have lunch. I hear about their challenges and respond to their questions. Oftentimes, their questions include their family and heart-felt personal matters. Gradually, this has developed into a routine and a great resource for real life application that can be integrated into my preaching. These are first-hand experiences that can help them solve problems of immediate concern.

Every disciple is an individual case with individual, real life stories. I do not present them with quick answers, but bring them into real experiences in order to search for the answer.

For example, a brother owns a business focused on finding talent in other companies with the intention of bringing them into his own. Discipleship transformed not only his beliefs, but also his business practices. Once he found an excellent candidate and wanted to bring him into his own company. The candidate passed all evaluations and met all qualifications. Then our brother found out this candidate had been working in Beijing for 11 years, leaving his wife and child in his hometown. For this reason our brother rejected the candidate, who was shocked by this decision and asked for a reason. Our brother said: “You do not genuinely love your family. If you do not love your family, I don’t believe you will do well in my business.”

The candidate was surprised and asked: “How do you come up with such an idea? I’ve never heard of this.” Our brother told him it came from church teaching. To everyone’s surprise, this candidate came to church that Sunday, came to faith in Christ, claimed Jesus as his Lord and Savior, and returned to his hometown to be with his wife and child. He settled down with a smaller paycheck for a less significant position, but he was willing to live together with his family again. When I read testimonies like this, I know genuine discipleship brings people into life full of Christ and gospel mission.

Gospel Power in Discipleship

CP: The gospel is entering the discipleship process and the values and worldviews of the brothers and sisters in your church. How does the core of the gospel influence you?

Pastor: First, we must recognize the gospel is not a doctrinal concept. It’s also not a systematic information transfer. It’s the living witness of Christ’s life in the heart of each believer. This allows me to focus not on the number of people I’m discipling, nor how many people attend certain courses. Instead, my focus is to bring a person from a vague understanding of faith into a relationship with God, and build a life with a community of believers. Another focus is how they are living out their mission in their everyday lives as Christians. The power of the gospel is beyond our imagination.

The gospel is not a doctrinal concept. It’s also not a systematic information transfer. It’s the living witness of Christ’s life in the heart of each believer.

For example, we have a couple, they had great jobs and awesome careers. When pregnant with their second child, they discovered their child had many health issues. Several times, they wanted to get an abortion. But we continued to walk with them, encourage them, and pray for them. Through the process, they decided to obey the teaching of the Bible, and were willing to experience God’s wonderful works. In the end, when the child was born, except for the stomach, every organ had problems, including the brain. In two short years, we walked with this family through very hard times. Our deepest impression was their continual obedience to God’s will through faith in the gospel. Because of the gospel, they were willing to accept two years of suffering.

We didn’t think we must beg God to heal them; our focus was on how the gospel blesses us and how we can be thankful for it if we receive and accept it. We saw the love and care of the brothers and sisters in our church for this family. Miraculously, after two years, on the child’s second birthday, they brought him for a check-up and discovered he no longer had any problems.

It’s a miracle. We never thought it would happen; we saw the gospel’s mighty work.  Not only did their faith grow, we also witnessed the testimonies of their lives.

Wang Jianguo is the collective pseudonym for a group of Chinese house church pastors thinking about 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.

Pray for discipleship training in Beijing churches.

Share This Story

Further Reading

Moses in the Wilderness 3: Making Visible the Invisible
Read More
Chengdu: Discipleship in Difficult Times
Read More
Moses in the Wilderness 2: A Reflection of Christ
Read More


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.


  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



About Shenyang

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.


Stories from Shenyang

About Qingdao

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.


Stories from Qingdao

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.


Stories from Xiamen

About Chongqing

Chongqing is a city located in southwestern China and is a major economic center in the region. The city is known for its spicy cuisine, especially its hot pot dishes, and is also famous for the Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydroelectric dam. Chongqing is also home to several historic sites, including the Dazu Rock Carvings, which are UNESCO World Heritage sites.


Stories from Chongqing

About Nanjing

Nanjing is a city located in eastern China and is the capital of Jiangsu Province. It is one of China’s ancient capitals and has a rich cultural history, including the Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum, the Nanjing City Wall, and the Confucius Temple. Nanjing is also a modern city with a thriving economy and is home to several universities, including Nanjing University and Southeast University.


Stories from Nanjing

About Changchun

Changchun is a city located in northeastern China and is the capital of Jilin Province. It is known for its rich cultural heritage and is home to several historical landmarks such as the Puppet Emperor’s Palace and the Jingyuetan National Forest Park. Changchun is also a hub for China’s automotive industry, with several major automobile manufacturers having their headquarters in the city.


Stories from Changchun

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.


Stories from Guangzhou

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.


Stories from Kunming

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.


Stories from Shenzhen

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. 


Stories from Chengdu

About Beijing

Beijing is the capital city of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of over 21 million people. The city has a rich history that spans over 3,000 years, and it has served as the capital of various dynasties throughout China’s history. Beijing is home to some of the most iconic landmarks in China, including the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and the Temple of Heaven. The city is also a hub for political, cultural, and educational activities, with numerous universities and research institutions located within its boundaries. Beijing is renowned for its traditional architecture, rich cuisine, and vibrant cultural scene, making it a must-visit destination for travelers to China.


Stories from Beijing

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.


Stories from Shanghai


A short message about partnering with us.