From While We’re At It by David Mills in the November – 2012 issue of First Things:
“Look for a building with a cross on it,” people escaping North Korea for China are told, because Christians are more likely than anyone else to help them escape the Chinese police. The police, reports Melanie Kirkpatrick, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, will send them back to the hell-on-earth that is North Korea, where they will be tortured, thrown into prison camps, or killed. You don’t leave utopia.
Christians will help refugees either merge into Chinese society or get into South Korea. People go to jail for this, mind you. It is cheering to know that Christian sin China will risk their freedom for strangers. And cheering that the little religious freedom the government has conceded lets the believers put on their churches a symbol of freedom, a symbol not only to those oppressed by sin but those oppressed by man.
This is a wonderful reminder to pray for the persecuted church, that believers will trust God and persevere under tribulation, that believers will proclaim the Gospel and rely on the strength of God by the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, that believers will be sustained by God and protected and preserved as Witnesses. There is always Witness to be done.
Also, this causes me to reflect, and ask pointed questions: In the United States when The Great Default comes (Google “The Great Default”), will American churches have the same reputation as the Christians in China? Will people point to a “Cross” and say, “Go there for help. They’ll gladly assist you.” This is one of the advantages of a church having a brick-and-mortar building.
The Lord, however, does not bless all churches with brick-and-mortar buildings, so this means churches that meet formally in a residential or rented commercial building should think creatively to overcome this roadblock–relatively easy now with the wide-scale adoption of Internet Access, since churches can put the symbol of a “Cross” on their Web-presence, and Social Media can just as readily point to the physical symbol on a building as it does to the virtual symbol on a Website, Podcast, etc., and all of these serve as aids to inform people where help can be found.
Building brick-and-mortar churches and placing Crosses on steeples takes skill, knowledge, and wisdom about the world (e.g., architects, contractors, crane operators, etc.), so too building a Web-presence and placing virtual Crosses on the Internet takes skill, knowledge, and wisdom about the world. The church, therefore, needs faithful Christians who build in both arenas: we need Christian architects, contractors, crane operators, etc., and we need Christian web developers, graphic and brand designers, and copy writers and content publishers. There is always Work to be done.