Benjamin, who pastors in a network of urban house churches in China, is on study leave at a West Coast seminary. He recently spoke with CT editor at large Rob Moll about how he came to Christ and began ministry work, and the challenges of working within China.
How did you become a Christian?
I was born into a Party-member family. I didn't have any concept of Christianity. I knew some Bible stories, but I didn't read the Bible. After I graduated from the university, I worked for a government department. The time after 1989, Tiananmen Square, was very critical. Many young people were thinking about the future and thinking about religion. My friend, who is a Christian, invited me to a government church in Beijing. It was my first time to actually attend worship in a church. When I heard about the worship music, I thought, This is the place I should be.
The sermon was from the Book of Exodus, talking about the people of Israel coming out of Egypt. I listened very carefully. Everything was fresh. In this sermon God called me out of Egyptthe old work I used to do for the government. That was my conversion moment in 1993.
How did your ministry begin to grow?
In 1995, I had been a Christian for just one year and God gave me the opportunity to study at a seminary in the United States. This was the calling for me to become a full-time servant. I studied along with my wife, and we went back to Beijing after graduation. We preached the gospel to intellectuals. The church grew very fast. Within one year, our church planted another church. Our church has doubled every year. Right now, we have started almost 20 churches since 1998.
Many Chinese are moving from villages to big cities. Brothers and sisters from rural areas are lost in the ...