By Wei Chen
Burlington Missionary Baptist Church
Five months after our Eastern Mission of Burlington Missionary Baptist Church (BMBC) held its first worship service in Oakville, a state of emergency was declared by Premier Doug Ford, including the gradual implementation of restrictions on gatherings. We stopped our church gatherings in March of 2020. All our worship services, fellowship, Bible studies and prayer meetings were transferred online. All our well-planned outreach activities were cancelled. Can a newly founded church grow in the pandemic? And how?
Be the good soil
“But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop (Luke 8:15).”
The pandemic brought a lot more challenges to the church’s growth, but also removed thorns in the field. With fewer opportunities to pursue life’s riches and pleasures, people have more time to learn God’s words. The future uncertainties helped people to understand the limitations of technology and human creations. Instead, they turned their hearts to God, eager to seek for God’s guidance. We had more people joining our prayer meetings, fellowships and Sunday schools. We prayed together, we had Bible studies and learned Church history. We realized how rebellious we are, we felt the pain of God’s heart, we understood the prophets’ callings were not only to the people of Israel but to people of our time as well. After this one year of preparation, we accumulated more nourishment in us and became better soil. With the Word in us, we believe we will produce a crop—thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown.
“Give, and it will be given to you. (Luke 6:38)”
Financial challenge is a major obstacle that every newly planted church has to face. We praise the Lord for the financial support that CBOQ granted us. We believe God’s grace abounds to us and that we may abound in every good work. With this belief in our hearts, we do not hesitate to give. In March of 2020, when the health workers were short of personal protective equipment, we called for an emergency donation for health workers in the Chinese community, together with our mother church, BMBC. Within one week, we had collected $11,794 dollars. We donated all the money to the hospitals in Hamilton, Burlington, Oakville and Milton. In October of 2020, after 10 weeks of watching a detailed presentation in our prayer meetings, which was made by a sister from our church about her two short mission journeys to northern Thailand, we learned of their shortage and need of financial support. We called for another special donation in our church and our mother church for the North Thailand Mission. We collected over $8000! We donated this money to CBM for the North Thailand project. Despite our two specials offerings to the community and other missionary givings, as God promised, we do not lack for anything. Our church is more united and our belief is stronger. Starting from the beginning of this year, we started to have our own Intern Pastor.
Seek God’s guidance to build harmonious family relationships
The pandemic keeps families together. When loved ones are together all the time, many families found they needed God’s help to build happy and harmonious family relationships. Last year, we invited speakers from Christian Associations to give us lectures regarding husband-wife relationships and parent-children relationships. Not only our church members, but also many unbelievers from our communities attended the lectures. Starting from this year, we had a new brothers’ fellowship to study “The Gospel-Centered Life” and a sisters’ fellowship to talk about the “Christian’s View of Marriage”. We invited some unbelievers from our communities to join the fellowships. We believe they will get to know God’s love in these fellowships.
Our church will be one and half years old in April. So far, we have 22 new members, four people who have resolved to believe in God and one person baptized. We believe the seed will grow a hundred times more than was sown.