China is currently ranked at number 27 on the Open Doors 2019 World Watch List. Despite China being home to nearly 100 million Christians, the government is increasingly cracking down on religious groups. Places of worship are being shut down, whilst the is pressure from the authorities on pastors and leaders. Last year, a new law was passed that banned anyone under 18 from going to church – crazy, right? But, even under increased pressure, Christians are proving just how precious faith in Jesus really is…
Bai Yahui* is from central China. She told us how the police shut down all the house churches in the region and warned pastors not to hold any more meetings. Pastors were placed on ‘probation’ and told to report to the police station to explain their movements and activities whenever the police choose. Bai says:
“We are constantly on edge, but our faith has grown and we are more determined than ever to see Christians in the area stand strong and not compromise their faith in Jesus. We have started many smaller meetings now and more and more brothers and sisters are putting their hands up to act as mini house church leaders. The situation is tense but we know God is on the move in spite of the restrictions. We held a regional leaders meeting and agreed that if one got arrested another would pick up the work. We also decided to respond to the police respectfully and in love even if they yell at us or use physical force to make us surrender the names of other believers.”
Another pastor called Titus* has been reaching and discipling young people for many years. In 2017, the Chinese government again outlawed all Christian youth activities, this time with a new determination to stop teenagers coming to faith. This new move has basically rendered existing youth work impossible. Titus explains:
“Initially I was really frustrated by the government’s attempts to shut us down, but recently I have embraced this as a new season in which God will bring to us those who are truly hungry for Him and willing to follow Jesus at any cost. Many young people are too scared to attend our meetings so we are trying new, creative ways to fellowship together. We play sport and practise musical instruments together, eat together and study in groups. We take every opportunity to pray for one another and share scriptures that make us strong and give us hope. The sense of love and solidarity is amazing.”
Choosing to follow Jesus takes courage in China. Get your free copy of our new Guts and Courage resource to learn more about the places in the world where Christians face pressure, violence and intimidation for their faith and get inspired to live out your walk with God with more boldness…
We support people who are beaten, tortured,
imprisoned, falsely accused, and hated simply for following Jesus.