The coronavirus pandemic has put churches and Christians to the test, as many churches face the situation of losing believers.
In a church, an online prayer meeting had only 19 participants, and the number of believers in some grass-roots groups had been reduced by more than half. A pastor’s wife said that many believers were invited, but few were left.
What are the reasons for this situation? There are many kinds of believers who do not stay in churches. Like the Jews, the majority of people refuse to respond to God's call. Many people are selected by God, but few repent and trust in Him; few people confess with their mouths and believe with their hearts.
Then what is the solution? Here I offer three possible ways.
Evangelism ministry is not a part of the church, but the center of all ministries.
Too many churches regard evangelism as only one part or even less than one-tenth of all the ministries, which is a big misunderstanding.
Based on Matthew 28:18-20 about the call for a mission, we can see that Jesus' ministry in the world and sacrifice on the cross were for the sake of the gospel.
Mission work should be the center of all church ministries, so church management and pastoral care revolve around missions.
To solve the problem, pastors must start paying attention to it and take missions ministry as normal service. They should strengthen the systematic training, promote the training of mission workers, and develop long-term plans to go out for missions.
Christians should carefully examine the intimate relationship with God.
We see that all Christians who remain in the church maintain their intimate relationship with God. Just like the vine and branches, if we do not stay in the Lord who is the source of love, our spiritual lives will wither down.
Christians need to make long-term efforts to strengthen this close relationship with God by praying, studying the scriptures, and serving in a stable fellowship.
Pastors should help believers hold onto the truth and build their lives.
Some Christians who have believed for years or even decades are taken away by heretics, although they are enthusiastic about the gospel, of which they do not know the full picture.
Others are well-grounded in the foundation of truth and have memorized many scriptures, but they cannot live out God’s words. These believers have devoted themselves to academic research in theology, and are obsessed with studying the Bible. However, Jesus does not need people to simply study Him, but disciples to faithfully follow Him.
This phenomenon is not unrelated to the long-term lack of guidance in nurturing believers in the church, which is an imminent problem.
As Jesus has set an example of love through the washing of feet, he exhorted us to follow Him to serve each other and live a life to glorify God.
In conclusion, the comprehensive solutions include offering basic Bible study, in-depth study, long-term continuous spiritual counseling, and providing a lot of nurturing training on life and specific exercises in fellowship. According to the needs of different believers, some churches adopt grassroots groups, in which they carry out diversified pastoral care to help Christians stand firm in truth and build a balanced life.
- Translated by Abigail Wu