Chinese Pastor Shares Testimony, Tools for Church Growth
Story by Taashi Rowe
Pictured below: Rebekah Liu tends 400 churches in Sichuan Province in Southwest China.
Hailing from southwest China, where she pastors a 400-church district, Rebekah Liu shared her testimony today with members of the Columbia Union Conference’s Executive Committee in Columbia, Md. Titling her presentation “He Dwells Among Us,” Liu dispelled the myth of the atheistic Chinese by comparing writings from ancient Chinese text with the Bible. She noted that both sets of texts include Messianic prophecies. She also charted China’s once deeply spiritual history to its decline with the advent of Communism.
She then spoke of Sichuan Province’s return to traditional spiritual values, and particularly the Seventh-day Adventist Church, when her mother received a copy of Ellen G. White’s Desire of Ages. The book planted a seed in her mother’s heart and she started keeping the Sabbath at home. Today that province is home to 10,000 Seventh-day Adventists. She notes that there are only five ordained pastors in Sichuan Province, four of whom are women. “This is not human work,” Liu clarified. “All this work was done by God. We are only a footnote. He is the actor in China.”
She also shared what she believes to be contributing factors to the church’s rapid growth in her area:
- A climate of persecution: “It takes courage to be a Christian in China,” Lieu said.
- There is a lack of professional ministers. Instead they train lay members to do the work of the gospel.
- Evangelism is a lifestyle practice, not an event. She shared the story of a monk who took eight years to decide that he wanted to become a full-time Christian.
- Chinese members spend the entire Sabbath at church. “We spend the day worshiping, studying, socializing and training,” she says.
- They are governed by the overarching principle of local, majority governance.
Even with a rapidly growing Adventist presence in China, Liu ended her presentation by pleading for help from fellow Adventists here in North America. “There is no seminary in China,” she said tearing up. “We need partners. Please come to China and help us train more workers for the gospel.”
There are now some 400,000 Adventists in China with 6.5 new churches and meeting points popping up throughout that country daily.
Dave Weigley, Columbia Union president, invited Liu to share her testimony, at the end of which he said, “I hope our hearts are stirred to question how we do ministry here in North America.”
Rebekah Liu accepts tokens of appreciation from Dave Weigley, Columbia Union president, and Weymouth Spence, president of Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park, Md.