Dr. George Wood tells a remarkable story about the growth of the Chinese Church. He writes, in 1949, George Roy and Elizabeth Wood, an American missionary couple serving in northwest China and Tibet, were forced to leave the area. A local leader named Pastor Mung took over the church of 200 people. The Woods returned to America and by 1985 both had passed away without ever knowing what had happened to the church they started.
In 1988, the Wood's son, George, returned to China and met with Pastor Mung and his wife, who were now in their 80's. For 28 years, the Communist government had done their best to extinguish the church. Pastor Mung wasn't allowed to preach and he spent nine of those years in prison for his faith. It was illegal to baptize or "indoctrinate" anyone under 18. When the government finally allowed Pastor Mung to reopen the church in 1983 there were only 30 (mostly older) people in attendance.
Assuming that the church was on its last leg, George Wood asked, "Pastor Mung, how many believers do you have today?" Pastor Mung's wife brought them a cardboard roll held together by yarn. The first page was filled with writing—five columns: name, age, gender, address, occupation. There were around 20 names. George Wood continued turning over page after page with the names of the baptized. Finally, he asked the Mungs, "How many believers do you have now?" He said, "One thousand five hundred baptized believers." In disbelief, George Wood asked, "How did this happen?"
Pastor Mung smiled as he shared his secret for church growth. It wasn't a technique or a program. He simply said, "Oh! Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. AND WE PRAY A LOT!" Then he went on to describe what the Lord had done.
Pastor Mung died in 2006 at the age of 96. But when he passed, the number of baptized believers stood at over 15,000!
Likewise, Robert Benson in his book In Constant Prayer writes, “I am increasingly convinced that if the Church is to live, and actually be alive, one of the reasons, maybe the most important and maybe the only reason, will be because we have taken up our place in the line of the generations of the faithful who came before us. It will be because we pray the prayer that Christ himself prayed when he walked among us and now longs to pray through us.
It will be because we choose to no longer be among the ones who silence the prayer that Christ, through his body, prays to the Father.
It will be because we make sure that the wave of prayer that sustained the Church for all time does not stop when it is our turn to say it each day. It will be because we answer the ancient call to pray without ceasing.”
Let us remember that Prayer is the greatest work of the Church. With that in mind, very soon we will reignite our worship prayer teams in our newly renovated prayer “War Room.” It’s fantastic and is the product of our prayer team and the generous provision of our RBC Ushers. Keep listening, I’ll share more about these things in the weeks to come. And remember, God is always trying to take us someplace new. I love being your Pastor!!!
For God’s Glory Alone,