It is said that one out of every three Wenzhou people goes on to start a business. Among these business owners, there are some Christians, as the proportion of Christians in Wenzhou is much higher than anywhere else in China. In addition to making money, some Christian bosses have another purpose to preach the gospel to their employees and lead them to Christ.
Around 2000, a local church would hold at least one large sermon a year, and an evening of evangelical worship every week. Since there are regular gatherings, a support team is needed. The team members of this church include both local worshippers and workers from other cities.
Most of the members from other cities were colleagues, all of whom worked in the same factory, which was engaged in producing shoe material. The members conducted manual labor work with some skills and were mainly male workers. The owner of the factory was a Christian and a very warm-hearted and gifted man. He assumed the post of teacher in the church. At first, the Christian boss was a poor preacher, but he and his wife were keen on serving together. After many attempts, he finally got out of his poverty by opening a shoe material factory.
After that, he preached the gospel to his employees like many other Christian bosses, encouraging them to believe in Jesus and allowing them to have free time for gathering. In addition to this, he was different from others in that he was kinder, always polite to a stranger, and neither looked down upon nor belittled anyone.
His good character laid a good foundation for his factory to recruit and maintain the staff, especially in evangelism. With a small factory size of only more than twenty people at its peak, the number of Christians was at least ten and stable. Although the others were not Christians, they were basically common in that they occasionally went to church, had a good impression of it, and had some desire for it.
Among dozens of Christians, two had been living as hooligans before they believed in Jesus, and one had even been in prison. They went to the factory as a temporary solution to find prey and make a fortune. It only became known to the others after they gave their testimonies about it when becoming believers. Otherwise, the others might even have been the target of their crimes. Through this, the gospel not only saved their souls but also changed them.
After the spiritual life of these Christian employees had grown to a certain point, the boss convinced the local church to set up prayer meetings and Bible study classes, through which his employees could further grow their spiritual life, and service talents could also be cultivated for the evangelical classes of the church and some of the surrounding churches.
Later, the factory was closed due to the change of times, but some employees who returned to their hometown become the main force serving the local church. Some younger talents with a certain level of education chose to study in theological schools and prepare to serve.
(This is an article from a special contributor/freelancer who is a preacher in Jiangsu Province.)
- Translated by Oliver Zuo