Francis Chan spoke in our chapel service this morning at William Jessup University. Recently, he spoke with one of the Chinese underground church leaders who outlined the “Five Pillars of the Underground Church” (which has flourished to over 100 million believers, without megachurches or celebrity pastors).
- Read the Bible, deeply and constantly
- Pray a lot, personally and collectively
- Be a missionary; everyone shares their faith
- Expect the miraculous; know that the same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead abides with us today
- Embrace suffering, for the glory of God
The fifth “Pillar” surprised Chan the most and gave focus to his message today. In a culture that quits all too easily and that whines all too frequently, the idea of celebrating or embracing suffering seems very foreign.
Small things seem to distract us. Big things prove utterly daunting. But brothers and sisters in China embrace their suffering, knowing that this converts into eternal reward (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).
Perhaps we fail to suffer well because we embraced a gospel of prosperity and favor. When tough times come, when people resist or reject our faith, when things turn sideways in our congregations, we cut and run.
Or perhaps we fail to embrace suffering, because the other four pillars are so pencil-thin in our lives. God’s Word is not planted deeply in our souls, we pray little, we share our faith with nobody, and we have ceased to expect miracles.
God is quietly orchestrating a Kingdom-revolution in China through 100 million Chinese believers. They have no platforms and no media. But it seems they have all they need; and perhaps more than many of us.
What pillars guide our lives and our churches?
SPECIAL NOTE — Next Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent. It comes early this year. In recent years I have written devotional reflections each day throughout Lent (40 days) as part of my own discipline for the season. I plan to do it again this year with Reflections Through Romans. I invite you to join me. In the meantime, I’m giving you an alert so you might consider what fasting you might practice during the season, if you’re so inclined. 🙂