When Police Arrive at Your Church’s Door

As persecution worsens in China, an urban house church leader offers guide for perseverance and preparation.

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

One morning when you arrive at your church, you might be surprised to discover many uniformed people in the building. Some might be angry and speak viciously. Others might address you nicely, almost beseechingly. Others may be expressionless but carry themselves with a businesslike attitude. Regardless of their demeanor, you know that something has happened. Your church is being persecuted.

Not every instance of persecution may be so dramatic. The trouble could happen between the landlord and the street administration office. It could occur after the pastor was summoned to the police station. However it might happen, it may shock you to the point of not knowing how you can help your church’s leaders face this crisis or how you yourself might respond.

Perseverance in persecution

That the church experiences persecution in this world is nothing new. Our Lord has continually reminded us that because the world hates Christ, it will persecute those who follow Christ. Though the crime of “disrupting societal order by holding illegal religious gatherings” listed on the police’s summons may be fabricated, as Christians we ought to know that the true gospel will inevitably cause trouble all over the world (Acts 17:6).

In John 15:19–21, our Lord tells us:

If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: “A servant is not greater than his master.” If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do …

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