Church Plant for Chinese-Speaking Believers
“I couldn’t believe that God already had a plan for me. Before I even came to the US, before I became a believer, God already prepared everything in my heart.”
In 2005, Tao Sun came to the United States to study at Iowa State University. A Taiwanese couple opened their home to host him for a week. Tao’s curiosity about the family was sparked when he saw how kindly they treated others. One Friday evening, they told him that they were Christians and that they went to a Bible study every Friday night. They invited Tao to join them.
“I had never been to a church in China. That was my first time,” Tao said. He began attending Bible study every Friday evening. As he heard others sharing their life experience and what God had done for them, Tao knew that in his heart he was “willing to accept Jesus because [he] knew [he] needed Him.” Shortly afterwards, Tao accepted Jesus as his Savior.
After graduating college, Tao went on to grad school and later attended Reformed Theological Seminary where his calling into ministry was confirmed. “I want to be equipped by God’s Word and serve the Chinese church and Chinese people here in North America,” Tao said.
Tao was pointed in the direction of a group of Chinese Christians meeting in Myrtle Beach. At the time, the members were meeting together in a Bible study. Juliet Smith, a founding member of the group, told Tao that they “have Bible study together but don’t understand what the Bible is talking about.” Tao preached to the believers virtually, and several of the members were moved to tears from hearing a sermon in their native tongue. Juliet said they hadn’t heard a Chinese sermon in a long time.
Living Water Baptist Church in Longs, SC met with the Start Team at the South Carolina Baptist Convention, where they were introduced to the idea of planting a church for Chinese-speaking people in Horry County. Associate Pastor John Goudelock said, “I was blown away to hear the number of Chinese-speaking people that were here.” The church quickly jumped on board with the vision to plant a church for Chinese-speaking believers.
“Tao’s heart and passion for pastoring, for starting a new Chinese work, is so exciting and refreshing to hear from someone in seminary, someone young in ministry,” John said. “We’re called to love people here who are lost, and our eyes have been opened to the fact that there are people around us of all different backgrounds who are lost and who need Jesus.” John said their prayer is that this church does not stop here, but that it “goes back overseas so that people in China can hear the Gospel and have an opportunity to respond as well.”
The first official meeting of the church plant was on Easter Sunday, where over 40 individuals celebrated Christ’s resurrection. The worshippers raised their voices through songs like The Church is One Foundation” and “In Christ Alone” in Chinese. Pastor Goudelock said, “As I heard songs that I knew sung in a language I didn’t know, I was in tears thinking about the beauty of that moment and anticipating what worship in eternity will be like.” Tom Gore, Church Planting Strategist with the SCBC said “I am thankful for the obedient and joyous leadership of Brian and Juliet Smith and Tao and Olivia Sun. The heart of God to reach the nations in South Carolina through the SCBC was on full display on Resurrection morning at Living Water Baptist Church.”
To learn more about how your church can be involved with starting a new work in South Carolina, visit https://www.scbaptist.org/leaders/church-planting/.