As Christian missionaries were expelled from the Big Country in the middle of last century, many feared that the Church would wither and die.
How we rejoiced when an easing of pressure and opening of the country from the 1980s revealed an unprecedented explosion of growth, with a flourishing underground church movement. Now there are around 100 million Christians in this East Asian country.
In the absence of trained Bible teachers and resources to support the pastors of churches during that time, God provided for His people with an extraordinary outpouring of wisdom and insight on those leading the growing flock.
Ordinary Christians with no resources other than the Bible and the Spirit were empowered to lead, preach and train others in the Church. Those leaders are now elderly, and handing leadership over to the next generation. Many of them still do not have access to training or adequate resources to preach the Word faithfully and in a way that is relevant to the culture.
There was an unexpected consequence of the miraculous intervention last century. Many of the emerging leaders did not see the value in pursuing training and qualifications, even when it became possible to do so. Since the opening of the Big Country, many churches have suffered from false teaching.
God remains faithful, and his Church continues to flourish, however there is a desperate need for more workers and more training — a need becoming increasingly urgent, as new legislation means renewed crackdowns and penalties for Christian activity not associated with the State Church.
A desperate need
Langham Partnership has been active in the Big Country through facilitating movements of biblical preaching and through providing some PhD scholarships.
There is a desperate need for sound Biblical training in this country, where conditions for Christians are extremely difficult. Please pray for wisdom as Langham Partnership tries to creatively train preachers and support Scholars. Pray also for Langham as it tries to relate to the Church in a legal way.
This article is adapted from Langham Australia’s Newsletter March 2018.