How does six-plus hours of Bible study on a Friday night sound to you?
As someone who works at a ministry dedicated to serving persecuted Christians, the first time I heard of Secret Church, I assumed it was an underground church simulation. Maybe you’ve participated in something similar. You know – meeting in a “secret” location, under the cover of darkness, singing softly so “authorities” don’t hear, possibly getting “raided” by other church members dressed up in fatigues… that’s what I thought Secret Church was.
And while those simulations are valuable to help us understand how Christians worshipped behind the Iron Curtain for many years, and even how some Christians worship today, that’s not what Secret Church is. Instead, it’s much closer to how most persecuted Christians actually practice their faith today. Those who work with persecuted believers recognize a need for these believers to be firmly rooted in God’s Word and in good, Godly teaching. VOM is supporting these efforts in nearly every one of the 68 nations we work in.
The organization behind the Secret Church studies is dedicated to helping believers in American know God just as deeply as their persecuted brothers and sisters long to know him. It was born after founder David Platt found himself spending all-night teaching sessions with persecuted Christians.
VOM workers and contacts report similar stories. One particular partner regularly holds trainings for Khmu believers in Southeast Asia. Because their locations are so remote and so restricted, the believers’ only regular Bible teaching comes via radio programs. They have few other resources. So when a group of 20 men and women come together in a secure place for study, they are eager.
Often the reports of these training sessions read: I taught from 8 a.m. with a 1 hour break each for lunch and dinner. As I started to wrap up the teaching at 9 p.m., the believers begged for more. Though I was so tired, I kept on teaching until 1 a.m. At 6 a.m., the students were already knocking on my door and pleading for me to start again.
What if you didn’t have a study Bible? What if you didn’t have a seminary-trained pastor? What if you had no access to thousands upon thousands of other Bible study resources available on the Internet?
That’s reality for many of our persecuted brothers and sisters. And so when they have opportunity, they take it. Even if it means sequestering themselves in a rented house in the countryside for a week. Even if it means crossing borders to a less-restricted country for training. Even if it means meeting with other house church Christians and risking being found out by authorities.
We have those resources. Let’s not squander them. Let’s train ourselves and let’s keep our persecuted family at the forefront of our mind by praying for them, by standing with them, by encouraging them and by helping them get the training they need to stand strong under pressure.
Dory P. has worked with VOM for nine years. She grew up in Ecuador, met her husband while working with another mission organization and now lives in Oklahoma. Dory tells the stories of the persecuted through VOM's newsletter, and her husband serves in VOM's international department. Between Dory, her husband, five-year-old son and two-year-old daughter, the family shares seven passports, though they know their ultimate citizenship is in heaven.