“Mei” has served the Church in China for more than 20 years, supporting and leading the activities of her congregation and reaching non-Christians with the Gospel. She is just one of the Chinese church leaders studying with the Oxford Centre for Religion and Public Life (OCRPL), the academic branch of Barnabas Aid. Mei is undertaking her Doctor of Ministry (DMin) degree.
A large part of Mei’s ministry of service is counselling married couples. Her approach to these couples is to seek to restore their relationship with God and then with each other. Christian couples are strengthened and encouraged, while many non-Christian husbands become believers.
Mei’s heart for married couples stems from her own experience of marital tension. Both she and her husband were young and didn’t know how to adapt to their married life.
One day a Christian shared the Gospel with Mei, telling her of the promise of God, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Mei cried out to the Lord for help, began to pray regularly, and experienced the compassion and grace of God. Her life transformation first led her husband to become a Christian, and then her seven brothers and sisters, her parents, and her in-laws.
Now serving her local church, Mei attended Bible college for two years. She took several part-time jobs in order to be able to fund her studies. During the planting and harvest seasons, she had to travel between school and home to help her husband with farm work and in caring for their two young children.
Yet while Mei was able to study marriage counselling at a secular university, she has not previously had the opportunity to undertake in a Christian setting the further training needed to support her vital work. Now, thanks to OCRPL, that opportunity has been provided.
One of the aims of OCRPL is to equip leaders who can then pass on their skills and knowledge to others. Mei is already living out that vision, training 70 young Christians who plan on passing the national examination to get a counselling licence so that they can support those who are struggling with marital relationships and share the Gospel with them.
“Mei’s life and ministry are full of God’s blessings and grace,” says another Chinese church leader. “While she always feels that she is just a woman with no good education, God has never despised her and He has regarded the lowliness of His handmaid instead” (Luke 1:48).
In China, as in many other lands, there are few opportunities to undertake pastoral and theological study. Those opportunities that do exist can be prohibitively expensive, sometimes amounting to thousands of pounds per year. Even theological books and Bible commentaries are hard to find.
OCRPL provides formal training at low cost, thanks to the generous donations of our supporters and the use of online teaching. There are currently ten church leaders from China amongst OCRPL’s student body – three undertaking a Doctor of Ministry (DMin) degree and seven a Master of Ministry (MMin) degree. God willing, 30 undergraduate students are being added in October 2022.
Project reference PR1579 Chinese OCRPL students