Pastoral Emails from Lockdown

Editor’s note: As China maintains its commitment to no Covid within her borders, citizens in many cities across China have been placed under draconian lockdown. These lockdowns, which are more severe than anti-Covid measures used in the West, have occurred in cities from Shanghai to Xinjiang, from Jilin Province to Chengdu. During them, many have been confined to their apartments for weeks, and have reported shortages of food, medicine, and basic necessities.

Today we are sharing a series of emails a pastor sent to his congregation during lockdowns this past spring. In them, he urges believers to use their confinement as an opportunity to invite unbelieving family members to hear the gospel, and urges them to pray for and reach out to one another. These emails paint a vivid picture of the state of many Chinese cities during this period, and of the mentality adopted by many local believers as they press on in following Christ during Covid.


March 23, 2022

This past Sunday we had the lowest attendance since the church was launched. We expect more and more people to go online, and that we will get used to this kind of “worship.” I would like to remind you that the online nature of worship must be temporary. This cannot become a substitute for physical Sunday worship, or else Paul would not have been so eager to have Timothy bring Mark to him.

Still, let us not waste this short-term opportunity to invite family members to join us online. As a preacher, as I prepare I will be thinking of family members passing time with you in front of the screen. Please invite them to join us.

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“Let us not waste this short-term opportunity to invite family members to join us online. As a preacher, as I prepare I will be thinking of family members passing time with you in front of the screen.

This week we will begin a weekly Zoom Bible study. I hope this will allow those of you not in small groups to start some church activities outside of Sunday, and to continue this fellowship when we resume offline meetings.


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Many brothers and sisters are isolated in their homes, facing inner loneliness and lacking necessities. Other brothers and sisters live in small, unrestricted neighborhoods, and are able to enjoy limited freedom. When God calls the church to become “members” of one another, we can not only worship together, but also live together. If you need someone to chat or pray with in the lockdown period, please let us know. If you cannot get in touch with a delivery man and the nearby supermarket is closed, please let us know. And, if you are willing to help others during this time, please let us know.

We see this recurrence of the pandemic as an opportunity. It is a chance to connect with one another, to ask for help, to serve, and to pray with desperation. The pandemic can make the church better or it can make the church worse. Either way, we will not remain the same.

Wang Jianguo


March 29, 2022

For the second week in a row, most people were unable to come worship physically. Next Sunday will be our first worshipping exclusively from home, as the pandemic has broken out in [the area where we meet]. Although we will do our best to ensure the broadcast is as smooth and engaging as possible, I would like to remind you that snacks can never replace regular meals.

Sunday Internet worship should be a way to pray to God to “stop this as soon as possible.” Even if you have fast Internet and can type quickly, ordering food on an app is not the ultimate goal. The ultimate goal is to physically buy, cook, and consume food. By the same token, Internet worship is not the goal, but exists to prepare us for a better physical reunion.

This waiting is a sort of a fast. We are not doing nothing, but wait expecting something good to happen. Fasting is not comfortable, so we must pray and help one another, just as Aaron and Hur held up Moses’s arms until sunset.

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“This waiting is a sort of a fast. We are not doing nothing, but wait expecting something good to happen. Fasting is not comfortable, so we must pray and help one another.

We encourage all brothers and sisters to care for one another during this difficult time. You can be taken care of by the church, and not be left alone. Your small group leader may pray with you, your church friends may look you up for a quick chat, and your co-laborers may ask if you need supplies (although they may not have any themselves). Do not be surprised when these things happen – be thankful, for the Bible’s teaching is alive in front of your eyes: “Let us consider how to stir one another up to love and good works.”

If you are unfortunate enough to be left alone with no one to care for you, please make sure you find your group leader or send us an email. According to the Bible, it is not good to be “left alone” at any time.

May God be with each of you in this lockdown, and may we be with one another!

Wang Jianguo


 April 5, 2022

The church, like the city, has been full of news both good and bad these days: brothers and sisters have prayed for one another across the screen, applied to be community volunteers, prayed for the city, exercised, and enjoyed the “Balcony Music Festival” outside their windows. There are also those waiting at home for test results and preparing to leave for isolation cabins. Others are worried about their pregnancies, or the elderly. All of us are on edge and bombarded with messages. For co-workers in the church, we are fearful we will miss the opportunity to pastor someone who has been entrusted to us by God.

This is the biggest crisis we have faced in the two years since this church started, and we should not waste such an opportunity to grow. At the very least, we hope the pandemic’s recurrence is not a stumbling block, but a stepping stone; not a tombstone, but a milestone.

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“This is the biggest crisis we have faced in the two years since this church started, and we should not waste such an opportunity to grow. At the very least, we hope the pandemic’s recurrence is not a stumbling block, but a stepping stone.

What can we do? While we experience the peace of being at home, let us also experience the security of being “in Christ” together. Take 20 or 30 minutes out of your busy life and get away from all screens. Take a physical Bible or spiritual book and spend some quiet time alone with God. You will not miss any information by not looking at your cell phone, rather you will find rest because of this half hour of solitude.

Next week we enter the most important week in the church calendar: Holy Week, which begins on Palm Sunday, continues to Good Friday, and ends on Easter. These days mark when Jesus entered the Holy City in glory, experienced his hour of darkness on the cross, and came out of the empty tomb in complete victory over death.

Wang Jianguo


Wang Jianguo is a collective pseudonym for a group of urban Chinese house church pastors committed to preaching the gospel of grace.

 

FOR PRAYER AND REFLECTION

Pray for Chinese facing severe Covid lockdowns to experience God’s presence with them in isolation. Pray also for their physical needs of sufficient food, water, and medical care.

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Further Reading

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Qingdao: How to Pray
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Qingdao: Locals and Outsiders
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Qingdao: Good Soil for the 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

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.

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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.

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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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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.

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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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