From the West Courtyard

From the West Courtyard—thoughts about working and serving in China from our staff and others with experience and insight to share. 

The name comes from a Chinese phrase that was taught in an early 1900s Chinese language curriculum, “有一个人,从西院子过来,”meaning “a man came over from the west courtyard." The idea of moving from west to east, of journeying between these two courtyards, reflects our desire to root our observations in the non-western context and allow the local Chinese context to determine what is culturally normative for life and work in China. 

Opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed by ChinaSource.   

Jan 20

Giving Up Pork and Other Cross-Cultural Challenges

by Si Shi (四石)

The church in China is in a period of incredible growth. Concurrent with this exponential numerical growth, Chinese Christians have developed a passionate interest in taking the gospel to parts of Asia, Africa, and Europe where relatively few Christians live scattered among two billion non-Christian people. 

Jan 18

Professional Supervisory Unit or Partner—Which Is Right for You?

by Joann Pittman

The new Foreign NGO Law requires approval from a “Professional Supervisory Unit” or “Chinese Partner” in order to conduct activities in China. So what's the difference between them?

Jan 16

New Wineskins for Cross-Cultural Workers from China

by Brent Fulton

In the latest issue of ChinaSource Quarterly, two Christians in China offer their thoughts on the future of Chinese mission sending structures.

Jan 13

China’s Church Bells: The Window in the Steeple

by Brent Fulton

As Joann Pittman skillfully conveys in her new book, The Bells are Not Silent, the church bells of China provide a valuable—and until now, largely neglected—window into the life of China’s church.

Jan 11

Supporting China’s Indigenous Missions Movement

by Brent Fulton

As the sending of cross-cultural workers from China gains momentum, many international sending organizations see China as a rich source of potential new workers for the harvest.

Jan 9

The Foreign NGO Law: An Infographic

by Joann Pittman

On Sunday, January 1 China’s new law governing foreign NGOs in China went into effect. The good folks at China Development Brief have put together a helpful infographic covering the basic information about the law. 

Jan 6

The Challenges of Localization (5)


by Swells in the Middle Kingdom

From the series The Challenges of Localization

This is the fifth in a five-part series on localization of China ministry. Each essay centers on a different issue that the author has encountered as his organization goes through the process of handing over key leadership to local believers. The challenges are real, and the process is ongoing, meaning that some essays contain as many questions as answers.

Jan 4

China’s Church at the Threshold

by Brent Fulton

Over the course of 2016, as I have had the opportunity to participate in various gatherings of Chinese Christians, I have heard two conversations going on simultaneously.

Jan 2

Top 10 Posts of 2016

by Joann Pittman

It’s time for our annual look back at the most popular posts on our From the West Courtyard blog in 2016. Here is what you, our readers, particularly liked this past year:

Dec 30, 2016

2016: Not “Business as Usual”

by Brent Fulton

In his recent post, “The Challenges of Localization,” Swells in the Middle Kingdom says developments this year in China are pushing organizations like his own to hasten the process of turning their work over to local believers.