During the pandemic, official churches were shut down and many of those that attempted to meet online were raided, so the church in China has gone back to their roots – the underground house church.
In 2017, there was a strong trend in China for house churches to meet in buildings that accommodated larger groups. Five years ago there was a growing trend in large metropolitan cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Zhengzhou, Guangzhou, etc for Christians to meet in buildings that were dedicated for weekly worship meetings, but today the trend is reversing.
Small clandestine groups meeting in simple homes is growing again in China. “We are meeting in smaller groups at home,” reported one BTJ partner living in a major city. “We leave our phones and do not take them to the meetings. We know that the government uses them to track our movements and to listen to our conversations.”
BTJ partners are reporting a significant increase in home groups with less than 10 people, so that the authorities are less likely to notice. Believers are even meeting during lockdowns, by sneaking off into the forests in the middle of the night, so that they can travel under the cover of darkness and return home again before the sun comes up.
China has a long history of seeing explosive church growth through the house church model and now it looks like it is happening again.