2021 was a tough year for everyone. The whole world had to press the pause button, and the global church has experienced an unprecedented impact. The mandarin ministry of our church was also greatly affected. But we are very thankful, when the church resumed the physical gathering, half of the morning congregational member returned on site; and 70% of afternoon congregational members returned. The average online attendance in the morning remained at around 80 people and, in the afternoon, the average attendance was around 30 people.
Raymond retired in September and Lane Sun joined the team in November. From September to November, I ministered to both morning and afternoon congregations. This gave me a chance to walk into the morning service and get to know the congregational members. The committee of the morning congregation are very mature and humble Christians with rich experiences in teaching, leading and pastoral care. Personally, I have learned a lot from them.
I am very grateful to pastor Raymond for laying such a solid foundation for the mandarin ministry at St Phils. Soon after Raymond’s retirement, God brought us Lane Sun. The Sun’s quickly joined the new church family and in just four months, Lane has carried out several important ministries such as Sunday School for Adults, and Young Family Fellowship. I believe in 2022, God will further bless the Mandarin Ministry of our church.
I feel the challenges of Mandarin ministry mainly lies in the growth of disciples. Many people have become Christians for years, but the gospel is still the head-knowledge, and they are still living a life controlled by the world and the flesh. To them, knowing God, trusting the Lord, and following Jesus in everyday life are remote ideas. Due to the various restrictions caused by the pandemic, the spiritual life of them has gone stale.
With the gradual release of the COVID restrictions and more Chinese students returning to Australia, we should try again to cooperate with campus ministries and the local churches to carry out Chinese student ministry at Macquarie University. Due to its “high investment and low return”, student ministry is arguably the most challenging ministry. However, preaching the gospel to Chinese students has always been the bounden responsibility for all overseas Chinese Churches. May God open the way for us to make new progress in this ministry in 2022.
Assistant Minister (Mandarin)