Pastor Chen is the current representative for Tanghe underground House church network, which today holds several million members.
“I became a believer in the winter of 1989, during a time when miracles were frequent in Tanghe. I was almost immediately enrolled into the underground Tanghe Bible School. This was not a legal, official Bible school, but it was all that we had. After completing the training course, I was sent to minister in Hebei Province for a year, Anhui Province for two or three years, and then to Hubei for six months.”
“That is how we usually do it in China. Even before we attend any formal training we are expected to share with others. The need is too great to allow new believers time to get comfortable with the idea of being Christians. Once I became a believer, I was put to work right away,” Pastor Chen said in an interview in Beijing in 2011.
Brother Yun spoke about the nature of this immersion technique utilized by the home churches in China during a meeting in Louisiana, 2011. During his sermon he stated that the longer that Christians wait to be used, the less likely they are to ever be used. Brother Yun explained that in China, unlike in western cultures, new Christians are expected to immediately take what they know about Christ and share it with others.
He went on to note that many people in the West feel that they must first receive formal training and a diploma that supposedly grants them legitimacy to preach, and only then might they go out and tell others about Christ.
The immersion technique is one of the most important practices contributing to the growth of Christianity in China today. When speaking about this technique, Brother Yun often points to Mary Magdalene and reminds his listeners that she didn’t know much about where Jesus had gone or what He had been doing since his crucifixion, but immediately went and told others that Jesus had risen and that His tomb was empty. The longer a believer waits to share his or her faith, the less likely they are to share it at all.
Pastor Chen did not have to wait long before he was thrown into the heat of battle. Because workers were in such short supply, he was often called upon to help carry and deliver Bibles from Guangzhou. In 2002, Pastor Chen was sent to Beijing and was able to plant more than thirty churches that are now regularly attended by more than 2,800 believers. Those 35 churches in Beijing are now sending evangelists to Gangsu, Xinjiang, and Qinghai Provinces to share the gospel with the Muslim minorities living there.