4 Tips from House Churches around the World
...Emily Watt, Open Doors Australia
In seasons of instability and uncertainty, the persecuted church are the perfect mentors for our faith. Across the world, persecution has driven churches into homes and online, yet generations of bold and faithful followers have emerged. Their lessons of courageous Christianity teach us how we can follow Jesus as the one body of Christ, no matter the season.
China | Value One Another
Coming together as the body of Christ, in any form, is an essential part of a believer’s walk with Christ. One Chinese believer, Ruby*, learnt firsthand what it means to gather in fellowship while under governmental pressure.
“The local authorities monitor religious activities here very tightly, so we have to be very cautious when we meet. At the very least, we should not make any noise. We would be in trouble if a neighbour reports our meeting to authorities.
“But the good thing is that we are still able to connect with some brothers and sisters.”
Middle East | Meet Panic With Peace
In the Middle East, conflict and heavy monitoring from authorities have pushed churches into secret house gatherings. But in the chaos and disorder, Middle Eastern believers have learnt what it means to meet panic with peace.
“Believers just want to connect,” house church host, Suri* said. “The work I do is so important. People are searching for answers everywhere. They seek God, as only with Him do they feel the peace they’ve been searching for.”
North Africa | Fight The Good Fight
For believers throughout North Africa, strict laws and threats of violence have given rise to an underground house church movement.
“We must fight,” said Marwan*, a secret house church member. “The one who has seen the light will never return to darkness. I see it as a God-given task to press on. God created us for eternity, for paradise. When you become a Christian, you are given a task. We see the church growing and this encourages us greatly.”
Yemen | Follow In Christ’s Footsteps
In Yemen, to become Christian is viewed as a betrayal of the family and tribe. These external views force churches to seek safety by meeting in secret. Food shortages and civil war add additional pressure to Christians who struggle to reach one another.
Secret believer, Mohammad*, said, “We were always challenged, getting our daily food, finding work, surviving in a war situation.
“But for God, nothing is impossible. Christ said that whoever wants to follow Him needs to take up his cross and follow Him. That means we need to follow Him even if it costs us everything.”
*Names changed for security purposes.
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It’s an opportunity for youth and young adults aged 16-30 to connect through weekly challenges and to invite their friends to participate and hear the message of Jesus.
Each week a challenge will be released for individuals to complete along with a bonus church team challenge approx. every second week which the team must complete.
Each week there will be a message from some of the Next Generations pastors in line with this year’s theme Just Ordinary? focusing on the various individuals in the Bible who seemed very ordinary at first glance, but through following the calling that God had placed on their life their somewhat ordinary life did extraordinary things and impacted others in an incredible way.
Continue to praise God for the progress WA has made in keeping the spread of COVID19 at bay. Pray for wisdom as restrictions are relaxed and we discover our 'new normal'.
Pray for those who are unwell in our state, over East, and the masses of people who are still suffering from Covid-19 across the globe. Pray for God's hand in the restoration of our world from this virus and its effects.
Praise God that we can meet again for live services to hear what He has to teach us and to worship Him together.
Thank God for our volunteers as ministries start up again. Thank Him for the dedicated teams who have put in a huge amount of work to both maintain our church over the past few months and to make things happen again as we come out of restrictions.
Thank God for each and every one of our church family and the blessing it is to be able to meet in person again with one purpose.
Praise God for the opportunities that online facilitation has opened up in our church and beyond.
Continue to pray for our local community and ways that we can bring the good news of Jesus to those around us in 2020.
Continue to pray for provision to meet our financial needs this year. Pray for continued wisdom in our financial management and generosity in spirit as a church.
Continue to pray for those who are grieving, unwell or recovering from injury.
Continue to pray for the missionaries we support as a church, for God’s protection & blessing over them as they bless those around them.