Shanxi Church Carries out Online Pastoral Care

Ganhe Church in Hongdong County, Linfen City, Shanxi Province
Ganhe Church in Hongdong County, Linfen City, Shanxi Province
By Zhang XiaohuaFebruary 3rd, 2021

Since the beginning of 2021, all the registered churches across the country have suspended in-person worship services again. There are some sporadic cases of COVID-19 in many places. How do rural churches carry out pastoral care and ministry work during the period of the pandemic?

One staff worker of Ganhe Church in Hongdong County, Linfen City, Shanxi Province introduced their pastoral strategy. They divide the congregation into 6 groups. Each group leader, which consists of 6-8 people, takes turns to guide the online morning service, Bible reading, praise, and worship on the smartphones. The members also pray virtually for pandemic prevention, world peace, national prosperity, church revival, and family harmony.

On Sundays, they remind the believers to watch the live services on the official WeChat account of Linfen CC&TSPM (Christian Council & Three-Self Patriotic Movement) from 9:30 to 11:00. The church's pastoral co-workers also take turns to record and broadcast the live sermons from 2:30 to 4:00 Sunday afternoon. After a few attempts, they have successfully posted several speeches.

The elderly believers who do not use mobile phones organize them to watch online service nearby if they have average body temperature and wear masks. Also, they often go to visit the sick and weak members, showing concern and love.

After the outbreak of COVID-19 during the Spring Festival last year, the church halted on-site worship services following the government's requirement. They instructed the congregation to follow the official WeChat account of Linfen CC&TSPM and watch the live Sunday service every week. Until September last year, they resumed in-person services after the Linfen churches had reopened. Before this New Year's Day, the church closed again following pandemic prevention and control requirements.

Built by elder Li Shiyi of the village around the 1930s, Ganhe Church was rebuilt in 2007 with more than 100 believers. About 80 or 90 churchgoers attend the worship services usually, as some believers go out to work. Located in the northern part of Hongdong County, the village is adjacent to Fenxi County and Huozhou City.

Following the government's requirements, the believers who have returned from working in other places are instructed to participate in the online worship, praise, and prayer activities after providing nucleic acid tests and home quarantine.

Due to the COVID-19, the church plans to hold virtual worship and praise services from the first day of the Chinese lunar month to the fifth day. It contained a thanksgiving worship service on the first day every year in the past. At home, everyone can attend the online activities of singing hymns and intercession, participating in the online group activities to be carried out in the future.

(The original article is published by Gospel Times.)

- Translated by Abigail Wu

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