The Chinese ministry team continues to keep busy and has adapted well to the restrictions that COVID-19 has brought. Every year, SOTA camps are held across Canada. These camps are open to SOTA graduates to further their education and are also open to key leaders of churches. The camps focus on specific ministries like worship, preaching and missions. This year, they were held online due to the pandemic.
Instead of having the usual preaching camp and missions camp, it was changed to a preaching fellowship that lasted 10 weeks and a missions fellowship that lasted several months. Preachers could join the preaching fellowship each week to practice and learn more about preaching. Each participant of the preaching fellowship was required to prepare a sermon to be presented before the fellowship. SOTA staff would share feedback about the sermon and the participant then made revisions.
“I have learned a lot from this preaching fellowship. I have learned how to summarize the key points of the passage and I am learning about the importance of application. I also learned how to conclude each passage. What I remember the most is that the preacher must preach the message clearly so that the believers can receive the passage accurately and at the end they can apply the teaching accordingly.”
In addition to the summer camps, the Chinese ministry team continues to run SOTA training online. Students can attend Bible studies and practice their preaching through online video tools. Two students have completed the 18 courses in the program and graduated at the end of September. One of them wrote the following words in his graduation testimony:
“I started my SOTA courses in April 2017. I have been studying for three years and five months. The content of SOTA courses are rich. They cover different fields of theology and have expanded my faith and made it wider and deeper. When I took the course ‘People in Church History,’ I was sincerely touched by the missionaries and their deep love for God. They had no relationship to China, yet they responded to God’s calling and came to China, devoting their lives to bring the good news to the people of China. I was totally moved by their self-sacrifice, their dedication to God and their love of people. They have set a great example for us. We should follow their steps and become Christ’s disciples.
“‘Systematic Theology’ is the toughest course. With a huge amount of materials and a tight schedule, it was challenging for me. Over the last three years, I have been seizing the opportunity to make my studying more efficient. As a result, my self-learning and concentration have been improved a lot. The course content has injected a spiritual power into my soul.
“By studying the course ‘Pastoral counselling,’ I was taught a lot about how to serve churches. We cannot rely on our own strengths, rather our service comes from the power of the Spirit through our constant prayers. The learning process has equipped me with the heart of a pastor. Thanks to Christ my Saviour for giving me, a humble person, the opportunity to study theology. Many thanks to SOTA, which built up these courses.”
Praise God that students have been able to receive training and teaching this year despite the challenges the pandemic has brought. Pray that current SOTA students will stay motivated and focused on their studies.