The 126th Pastor’s seminar was held in city S of C country C, following the same rules and principles as that of the US. The church where the seminar was held started house churches two and half years ago and showed a very promising future. There were many powerful testimonies from shepherds and their spouses. This church does not have a kitchen so people have to prepare food and deliver it to the church. In spite of that, the joyful spirit of serving members was quite evident.
On Saturday morning, we had a question and answer session for shepherds, and I want to share some of their answers with you. After a few answers, it was quite clear how valuable house church was and how much transformation was experienced by the shepherds. One main question was the benefit of being a shepherd. Shepherds’ answers were as follows;
1.Our House become neater. Before, it was difficult to clean up our house and thus it was always in disarray. After house church started, we had to clean up house- reluctantly at first, but now that we are used to it our house tends to always be neat. The habit of organizing seems to have changed my life.
2.My relationship with my teenage daughter got better. Previously, the relationship was tense because I argued to prove my point. To be a shepherd, I learned to read other’s emotions. Now, I think I can better read my daughter’s feelings as we communicate and I can definitely say that our relationship is better.
3.My ability to deal with unanticipated events has improved. Before, when I had a problem, I became anxious, could not sleep, did not know what to do, and became easily irritated without much provocation. Once I became a shepherd, there were many new problems and I prayed each time. Based on these experiences, I become used to praying for every problem and learned to deal with it in a calm manner.
4.I learned to see the positive side of others. I used to see only the negative side of people. The negative things I saw in a person caused me to have negative perception toward the person and it was difficult to change the impression. It was that way even when I was a member of a house church. After became a shepherd, however, I tried to see the positive side as it was taught. As I worked on that, the negative emotions decreased and I think I now have a more accepting spirit.
5.I learned to listen. I did not like listening before. I thought when I had to listen, I was losing ground, so to have an upper hand, I wanted to talk rather than listen. However, since I became a shepherd, I learned the value of listening and tried to learn to listen. Now, I think I am a better listener.
I asked the senior pastor of the church about his house church experience. He told me that previously he had never heard positive comments like ‘Thank you, pastor.’ Or ‘Good job, pastor.’ Then, after the house church system was implemented, he heard those comments often, maybe because they understand the heart of the pastor better. The pastor also acknowledged that he valued shepherds and their spouses’ hard work and deeply appreciated that. He added that the house church has changed him as well.
I want to close with a story of one shepherd who used to have such frequent fights with his wife that they were on the verge of divorce. They were invited to house church and to make a long story short, their home was restored and he has become a shepherd. One of the questions asked was, ‘what to do when house church members argue in the house church?’ This brand new shepherd stood up and gave an answer. ‘That is the healing process. If they fight outside of house church, the result is obvious. Divorce! However, it is all right for them to fight in house church. They have hope. Let them fight and argue all they want.’ Many laughed at his answer, but my heart was touched by his wisdom which was gained from his own experience. The widespread establishment of the house church system in country C is urgently needed. It was quite evident.
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