Someone from the Putonghua (PTH) congregation said to me recently that our congregation feels like a loaded spring. While this wasn’t the best illustration (the spring could fly off in any direction!), it wasn’t the worst. There is certainly a tangible sense of anticipation and some of our services feel like there is electricity in the air. Why is that?
As PTH speakers, we feel that PTH congregation is familiar. We can communicate in our heart language and support one another, as many of us come from different places and are adapting to life in Hong Kong. Our church feels like a home away from home.
We’re also a small congregation. It’s easier to get to know each other and notice new people turning up. We also spend a lot of time together, with around a quarter of the congregation spending over five hours together every Sunday. We have doubled in size over the last 18 months from around 50 in mid 2021 to now regularly having just over 100. Our biggest growth area is in the 20s & 30s age range, maybe because I am (relatively) young. These people are also much more unrestricted to serve and get involved in different ministries across church.
One of the most exciting areas of our ministry is the Cantonese Outreach Ministry that happens Sunday afternoons in the basement of the Life Centre. We open our doors from 2pm and invite PTH speakers to come and learn Cantonese. We have about 35 teachers who volunteer and 25 teachers who serve every week on 13 tables. We have anywhere between 60 and 80 students join each week, most of whom aren’t Christians.
The class time includes time for reading, speaking (especially working on pronunciation), and even singing. Sometimes there are discussions in Cantonese, like how to order dim sum. The homework is then to go and order dim sum in good enough Cantonese without the waiter/waitress responding in PTH!
We also organize many socials, like hikes and BBQs. Recently, we visited a local museum that had an exhibit on the history of the Chinese bible. These events are great ways to build connections, community, and friendships.
We often invite students to join in church services and attend our investigating Christianity courses. The surprising outcome of this labor-intensive ministry is that we have attracted many Christians from around our city who want to get involved. Some were looking for a new church and were attracted to the idea of getting involved in this outreach ministry. We love seeing God use his people to bring other people to know Jesus.
We really do value your prayers for our PTH ministry and our Cantonese classes. Do let me know if you’d like to be involved.