- Category: Pastor Letters
- Published: Thursday, 05 September 2019 00:00
III. 北美校園查經班的興起 – 學生宣教的校園事工
上世紀70至80年代，美國中部很多較大的校園，全校華人學生可能僅有200人左右，但卻可有約四分之一的同學來參加聚會。例如: 在1970年代，Ames, IA的華人學生約有200人，週五聚會人數卻約有100人。華人學生在校園中也很有影響力，在Columbia, MO的校園在80年代，全校同學約有140人，查經班聚會人數，也常有40-60人，同學會要辦活動，必須主動避開查經班的聚會時間，免得沒有人參加。
八月真是非常的忙碌： 兩週的讀經營與門徒訓練營後，就是八月短宣隊的到來，共計10天，約有50人分別從加州、德州與New Jersey而來，共有七隊；感謝主！今年的天氣比去年短宣時更涼快，主在天氣與傳福音上，都有奇妙的作為。有一個校園今年差不多所有的學生同工都離開了，負責同工們都非常煩惱如何作新學期的校園事工。這次短宣隊在他們的校園一個週末，感謝主！週五晚上聚會時帶了幾位信主，週六一整天做個人工作，主日原不打算有太多福音朋友來，沒有想到有一個新同學，帶了六個新來的同學來參加崇拜，更沒有想到的是: 在聚會結束時，這六位同學都決志信主，這學校的同學差不多都是本科生，感謝主奇妙的作為，在人看來沒有辦法時，主就作成奇妙的工作。
九月六日開始將有第二期的短宣，三十六人將分六隊，從東、西兩岸與德州而來。通常九月的短宣隊都會走得比較遠，北到N. Dakota, 南到 Alabama，Florida。這次也會包括到Pensacola, FL作開荒佈道工作，請在禱告中記念。
大家期待的美中冬令會即將來臨，冬令會是為了建立美中各地弟兄姊妹同心傳福音，不僅一同帶領福音朋友接受主，又能讓弟兄姊妹一同追求主，挑起愛主的心，讓美中各教會與校園團契能在主裡合一，互相紀念，互相扶持，讓基督的愛挑旺各地教會。這次講員有：賴若瀚牧師、賴鍾桂珍師母、陸大齡牧師、鍾舜貴牧師、薛忠勇弟兄、周如歡教士等。今年的場地有所改變，將會使用Marriott Hotel – Kansas City Down Town ，日期為：2019年12月21-25日。 請為同工們的準備工作與聚會的邀請工作更多禱告。
- 請在禱告中紀念九月的短宣隊，為他們的漫長的旅程禱告，得以跑遍：Taxes，Missouri，Kansas，Arkansas，Oklahoma 再往 Kentucky，Mississippi、Alabama，Florida， Illinois，S. Dakota, N. Dakota, 等地。求主加添他們奔跑的平安與力量，到處留下佳美腳蹤，在各地為主多結果子。
- 為新同工梁慶龍弟兄在Columbia，MO 並附近周邊的事奉禱告，並為他一家五口禱告，求主賜福他們，又為他們大女兒剛入學禱告。
- 為維修同工Scott一家八口禱告，求主使他 的維修工作常在主的恩典與力量中完成。並使每一位來參加營會的人蒙更大的恩。
- 為建築同工Pastor Shull的擴建工程平安與蒙恩禱告，感謝主！餐廳擴建部分已開始使用，現在正在建造餐廳的洗手間，並外面的景觀。 同工Scott夫婦已在今年初搬入擴建完工的臥房，但外觀還未完全完成。求主幫助餐廳擴建與同工宿舍的兩大工程禱告，求主繼續工作。。
Dear brothers and sisters, peace to you in the Lord,
With a blink of time, fall is here. It is the season of harvest. May the Lord help us in this new semester to harvest more abundantly. The message below will help us understand better how to make our campus ministry more prosperous, so that we can bear more fruit for the Lord.
Chinese Campus Ministry History - Part III
III. The Rise of Campus Fellowship in North America – Student-Initiated Campus Ministry (1950-1990)
After WWII, God prepared workers to start campus ministry overseas. Rev. Calvin Chao, chief executive officer of Chinese Nationals’ Evangelism Commission, was forced to move to Hong Kong by pollical pressure at the end of 1948. His ministry was theological training. He moved to US in 1956 and established the “Chinese for Christ” Association. He never forgot the student ministry, and his home was open weekly to Bible study with students. Later he ministered among students at the University of California at Berkeley. That Bible study group later became a church. The student ministry at Berkeley was very active in the 60s and 70s. It became the model for other campus fellowships in the United States. Rev. Chao influenced many young Chinese professionals to dedicate their whole lives to serve the Lord. This had far and deep impact on Chinese churches. From 1950 to 1980, North America had a severe shortage of Chinese ministers, notably to the Midwest college towns. Few campuses had a Bible study group or Chinese church. Very rarely, a Chinese minister would pass by. Many of the brothers and sisters who are from Taiwan or Hong Kong were trained in campus fellowship back home before coming to the US to pursue a higher degree. They had developed spiritual independence before they left for US. When they came to US, there were no university fellowship nor Chinese church on their campuses. They just set up their own prayer groups and Bible study groups on campus. Even though they had no minister to guide or assist them, they set up their own meetings. At the beginning, they might meet in a small room at the school or open up their small houses for gathering with only a few people. They were not discouraged. On the contrary, they served more proactively. In many years there might not be any Chinese minister passing by to help them. They were still faithfully serving on their campuses: caring for students’ daily needs, inviting and leading people to come to fellowship. They did everything by themselves including evangelism, leading songs and Bible study. Their load for ministry was quite heavy, but their hearts were willing and without a word of complaint. As a result, they were good testimonies on their campuses. Their faithful ministries led more people coming to fellowship and many believed in the Lord. Often new students came to the Lord. These young believers, influenced by their faithful senior believers, were on fire for the Lord and pursued the Lord together with other brothers and sisters. They served very well alongside those older brothers and sisters. The Bible study groups became more structured and bigger. Each meeting would divide into several groups to satisfy different needs. Coworker’s structure became more complete. These prosperous situations were no less than a regular Chinese church. Although the student population turned over after every few years, under the good influences of former students’ models, student coworkers were built up one after another. God’s work among North America campus ministries indeed increased during those few decades.
Some bigger colleges in the Midwest in the 1970s and 1980s might have 200 Chinese students. But one fourth of them attended the fellowships. For example, Ames, IA had about 200 Chinese students in the 1970s. There were about 100 people at Friday night Bible study groups. Chinse students had influence on their campuses. The Columbia, MO campus had about 140 Chinese students in the 1980s, and 40-60 people attended the Bible study group. When the Chinese Student Association planned to organize any activity, they must avoid the time of Bible study. Otherwise no one would come to the activity.
The prosperity of the Campus ministry came not from a full-time minister’s labor, but from the students. Before these students came to US, they knew clearly that campus ministry must be initiated by students. Ministers only assisted them sometimes. When the students had the burden of sharing the Gospel on campus, with motivation coming from within, they evangelized actively. Even under the intense pressure from the school and careers work load, they were still faithful to complete the Lord’s calling for them. Their complete commitment became the foundation of a prosperous campus ministry. They themselves became either “student ministers” or “lay ministers”. Many Christians after they came to US for studies immediately became the main coworkers of their campus Bible study groups. If there was no Bible study group on their campus, they would start a new one. They cared for other students and shared the Gospel to them. They were willing to open their homes for Bible study and led the study themselves. These students’ dedication of heart and strength was no less than a normal minister. They were indeed “student ministers”, with good testimonies on their faith and academics. Their testimonies led more learned people turned to Christ. Many of the Chinese churches at North America evolved from campus Bible study groups. Their churches were established from these students burdened with a mission mind and willing to dedicate themselves for other students. Thanks to be God! Campus fellowships were transformed to churches. Many of the dedicated students from those time have become elders, deacons and ministers!
From this period of student ministry history, we perceive:
- The influence of discipleship training is very deep and powerful. As the August newsletter outlined, the campus ministry in Taiwan and Hong Kong after the Sino-Japanese War focused on discipleship training and building up student coworkers as the student ministry. It not only caused campus ministry to thrive in Taiwan and Hong Kong during that time, but also built up a big group of student ministers. After they graduated from college and went abroad to pursue higher degrees, they were studying, yet still doing campus ministry. They were much like little shepherds to build up the student fellowship and also build up the churches.
- Churches, campus ministers, and advisors must give young people a higher vision and sense of mission, higher than their secular study or work. The young people will not only enjoy being Christians, but serve as little shepherds on their campuses.
- This year, students and scholars serve the Lord while bearing study loads. Next year, they are missionaries in China while working.
- The Taiwan and Hong Kong campus ministries from the past established the missionaries of North America campus ministry. Today, the geography is reversed: we establish students in North America and expect after their graduation they can lead others to the Lord in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macao.
- The Chinese government has been enforcing a limit of gatherings to 20 people. That means among 20 Christians, one will be the little shepherd that can lead and shepherd the congregation. North America campus ministry is not to build up the nineteen, but to build up the twentieth to be the little shepherd. Let the students from our campus fellowships and small groups be trained and equipped as faithful little shepherds.
- In the past years, Taiwan and Hong Kong campus ministry could equip a large number of students to initiate and lead campus ministries in the Far East. After they graduated, some served campus ministries in the United States. Today our focus should be on discipleship training to build up student coworkers to lead campus ministries. After they graduate and return to Far East, they can become little shepherds and lead the “nineteens” with all their hearts.
August September Short term Mission Teams
August was indeed very busy. After two weeks of Bible camp and Disciple training, it was time for the August 10-day-short-term mission teams to arrive at the Midwest. About fifty people came from California, Texas and New Jersey forming seven teams. The weather this year was cooler than same time last year. Our Lord’s wonderful work was both on the weather and Gospel. For example, at one campus, most of the student coworkers had left this semester. The coworker in charge was very worried about this new semester’s campus ministry. One mission team stayed on this campus one weekend. Thanks to be God: The mission team led several to the Lord on Friday night’s meeting. The whole Saturday they were doing personal evangelism. The mission team did not expect many non-believers would come to the Sunday service. But one new student brought six new students to Sunday worship. At the end of the service, all six students believed in the Lord. Most students on this campus are undergraduates. We thank God for His wonderful works. When man thinks there’s no way, God fulfills His amazing ministry.
Starting September 6, the September short-term mission teams will arrive. About thirty-six people from the US East and West coasts and from Texas will form six teams. Usually September teams travel beyond the Midwest to North Dakota, Alabama, and Florida. We will go to Pensacola, FL for the first time to do the startup evangelism ministries. Please remember them in your prayers.
Praise the Lord! Around 100 people attended the Bible camp. They not only studied God’s Words, but also learned how to handle accurately the Word of truth. As a result, participants can feed themselves from God’s Words and nurture others with God’s Words as well. Praise the Lord! Forty plus people came to August Discipleship Training. Brothers and sisters built up their own spiritual lives through this camp. In addition, they were refreshed and strengthened to meet their ministries in the new school year.
December Winter Conference
Everyone is looking forward to Winter Conference. The conference’s purpose is to edify believers in the Midwest to share the Gospel with one accord. They can bring nonbelievers to the Conference to know the Lord. At the same time, they can pursue God with other brothers and sisters, so their hearts will be on fire for the Lord. The churches and fellowship in the Midwest are unified in the Lord, remember one another, and support one another. Let Christ’s love revive churches everywhere. Our speakers are: Pastor Johanne and Mrs. Esther Lai, Pastor David Lu, Pastor Shun Kuei Chung, Pastor Balex Sit, and Minister Jerry Jou. We have a different location this year, at the Marriot Hotel-Kansas City Downtown. The date is December 21-25, 2019. Please pray for our coworkers as we plan the conference and also please invite people to attend.
December Discipleship Training Camp
It will be held on December 25-29 and the speakers are Pastor Balex Sit, and Minister Jerry Jou. The purpose is to equip brothers and sisters to be like servants of the Lord and faithfully follow the Lord. Application has begun.
January Bible Camp
Application has begun. The application form has been posted online. It will be held from December 29, 2019 to January 4, 2020 at CWC camp. We will study the General Epistles (Hebrews to Jude). Speakers are Rev. Chihhao Shen and Mrs Lois Su and others. Please prepare your hearts and apply as soon as possible to start the home works earlier. Deadline to sign up is November 15.
- Please remember September short term mission teams. Pray for their long journey first to Texas, Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, then Kentucky, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Illinois, South and North Dakota. Pray that the Lord will give them strength and peace when they travel, and that they will leave “beautiful footprints” everywhere and bear much fruits.
- Pray for Mrs. Ko’s health, that the Lord will heal and use her.
- Pray for Cindy Chiang as she does office work on week days in the CWC and ministers at various campuses on weekends. Pray that she will receive strength from the Holy Spirit and bear many good fruits. Pray that the Lord will bless her as she shares God’s Words in various campuses. Also give her strength to prepare for the three camps for the winter.
- Pray for our new coworker Qing-Long Liang minister surrounding areas of Columbia, MO. Pray that God will bless his family of five and his oldest daughter beginning kindergarten.
- Pray for maintenance coworker Scott and his family of eight. May the Lord enable him to complete his maintenance works by Lord’s grace and strength. Everyone who comes to CWC camp will receive greater blessing.
- Pray for peace and blessing upon our construction coworker Pastor Shull as he builds up the camp ground. Praise the Lord! The expanding area of our dining hall has been in used. He is building the restroom next to the dining hall and exterior. Scott and his wife moved in the newly expanded bedroom at their house earlier this year even though the exterior hasn’t completed yet. Pray for these two big building projects that the Lord will continue at work.
- Pray for the funding for CWC. Pray that the Lord will raise more brothers and sisters and churches to have the burden to support CWC by prayer and offering, so that God’s kingdom will be expanded.
- We thank God for the August mission teams completing their mission. Pray for the new believers that God will help them continue to grow spiritually. Pray for the brothers and sisters in different churches to have the wisdom, love, and perseverance to do the following up ministry.
- We thank God for the completion of August Bible Camp and Discipleship Training. May the Lord use the brothers and sisters who have been equipped that they will be a blessing to their local churches and campuses.
- Pray for the preparation work of Winter Conference. May the Lord help us to adjust to the new venue quickly. Also pray for the Winter Conference speakers and December Discipleship Training.
May the Lord bless you!