Resources on Church Life

Mar 28

Rethinking Youth Ministry

by ChinaSource Team

Do Chinese parents and pastors need to rethink how they raise their youth in the faith? In this article, originally posted on at Gospel Times, a pastor encourages believers to challenge traditional views of ministry to youth. The pastor sketches modern challenges to youth ministry and then offers practical recommendations for ministry workers.

Mar 21

Church Staff Salary—How Much Is Enough?

by ChinaSource Team

Chinese Christians have traditionally expected their pastors to live frugally and to receive little to no compensation for their pastoral duties. It was expected that those in the ministry would endure much suffering as a result of their call to ministry. As a result, some pastors and ministry staff live on quite meager means and many are bi-vocational in order to make ends meet.

As China modernizes, many congregations, particularly urban churches, recognize a need to better financially care for their pastors, as well as to invest in the well-being of the congregation as a whole. Congregations are starting to see the health of a church improve when the entire body is spiritually and financially committed to compensating their ministry staff. So, how much should a pastor in China make?

Feb 14

The Hardships of Pastoral Ministry in China

by ChinaSource Team

Pastoral ministry is typically not a desired vocation among Chinese Christians. Although pastors in China are revered for their rich spiritual gifts and selfless service to the church, pastoral ministry itself is poor, lonely, and draining. In this article from Green Olive Books, the author, a layperson, highlights the difficulties of being a pastor in China, as well as the need for Chinese Christians to better support their pastors. 

Jan 10

Top 10 Christian News Stories in China in 2016

by ChinaSource Team

China Christian Daily recently posted a list of the most popular news stories from the China Christian Times. Some may be surprising.

Dec 27, 2016

Why Don’t Chinese Pastors Write Books?

by ChinaSource Team

Theological books and resources from the West are widely available in China today and have become increasingly popular. What the Chinese church lacks, however, are books written by Chinese pastors and theologians. In the article below, originally published in Gospel Times, a pastor gives his thoughts on why Chinese pastors don’t write books.

Dec 13, 2016

Haidian Christmas Tree

by ChinaSource Team

If you happen to find yourself in Beijing this Christmas, be sure to stop by the Haidian Christian Church to see the Christmas Tree in the square in front of the church. This is a report from Gospel Times about the lighting of the tree.

Dec 6, 2016

Preparing Our Hearts for Christmas

by ChinaSource Team

Because of the growing popularity of Christmas in China, this season provides individual Christians and churches numerous opportunities for outreach. In this article, originally posted on at Gospel Times, a pastor reminds believers of the need to make room in their hearts for Christ as they prepare for Christmas.

Nov 8, 2016

The Prosperity Gospel in China

by ChinaSource Team

As China has become more prosperous, it has also become more open to outside influences. This is true of the church as well. In recent years prosperity theology has been gaining influence, mainly through the translated books and resources of Joyce Meyer and Joel Osteen. In this article, originally published in the Gospel Times, the author (a pastor) reflects on why this teaching is attractive to many in China.

Nov 1, 2016

What Does It Mean to Be a Pastor?

by ChinaSource Team

An article from the Gospel Times in which a pastor reflects on what it means to be a pastor, particularly in a society that knows and understands little about the profession.

Sep 20, 2016

A Conversation with a Rural Preacher (Part 2)

About the Need for Innovative Training

by ChinaSource Team

Last week we posted the first part of an interview with a rural pastor that was published on the mainland site Christian Times. The topic of the conversation was models for training in rural churches. This week we post the rest of the interview.

Sep 13, 2016

A Conversation with a Rural Preacher (Part 1)

About the Need for Innovative Training

by ChinaSource Team

An editor from Christian Times recently had an extended conversation with a rural pastor (born in the 1980s) about his thoughts regarding the current situation of China’s rural church. They talked about the problems and potential, particularly as they relate to the need for training. What follows is a translation of the article. Due to the length of the article, we will publish it in two parts. This is part one.

Aug 31, 2016

Urbanization and the Church: East and West

by Brent Fulton

As China has urbanized the challenges facing the church increasingly mirror those in other urban societies.

Aug 23, 2016

5 Challenges Facing Churches in China

by ChinaSource Team

The Gospel Times recently published an article written by a pastor in Xiamen on what he considers to be some of the key challenges facing the church in China today. Here is a translation of the article. 

May 31, 2016

Online Devotionals

by ChinaSource Team

Churches in China are increasingly looking for ways to use the internet to evangelize and encourage believers. This article, originally published in the mainland site Gospel Times is about a church in Liaoning province that posts daily video devotionals online to one of China’s largest video-sharing sites.

Apr 19, 2016

Financial Management in Chinese Churches

An Interview

by ChinaSource Team

In March China Christian Daily published an interview with a pastor from Dalian about the importance of properly managing church finances in Chinese churches. He highlights some of the difficulties that churches in China have in this area and some suggestions for improvement.

Apr 6, 2016

“Passive” Church Planting in China

by Brent Fulton

The China Partnership website recently carried the story of an urban pastor who planted 16 churches in a major Chinese city. The article profiles the transformation in this pastor’s thinking concerning the nature and purpose of the church.

Mar 15, 2016

Pastors Reflect on Preparing for Easter

by ChinaSource Team

Pastors in China share how they are encouraging their people to prepare for Easter.

Feb 1, 2016

3 Questions: G. Wright Doyle

Church Growth in the Chinese Church

by Brent Fulton

From the series 3 Questions

A ChinaSource "3 Questions" interview with Dr. G. Wright Doyle, director of Global China Center, editor of Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Christianity, and co-editor of Studies in Chinese Christianity, published by Wipf and Stock.

Oct 6, 2015

A Church Without Walls

by ChinaSource Team

The exhortation of a pastor in China to "Build a church without walls."

Sep 8, 2015

The Last China Inland Mission Pastor

by ChinaSource Team

It is easy to think of the China Inland Mission era as being in the distant past. This article, translated from the mainland site Christian Times reminds us that it is not as far away as we thought.

May 26, 2015

A Foolish Way to Build the Church

by ChinaSource Team

For this post, we have translated a sermon given by Pastor Wang Yi, of Early Rain Reformed Church, one of the prominent house churches in Chengdu, Sichuan Province. In it, Pastor Wang reflects on what it means to build a church. 

May 19, 2015

The State of Chinese Urban Churches

by ChinaSource Team

In this week’s Chinese Church Voices, we republish a post from the excellent China Partnership Blog. Last autumn China Partnership held a conference in Atlanta, centered on the topic “The Church in a Global-Local World.” Many of the speakers at the conference were church leaders from China. One of them gave a talk titled “The State of Chinese Urban Churches.” The speaker looks at the situation from three different perspectives: the Chinese value system, the political system, and the expansion of Christianity. China Partnership originally published it on their blog in February. It is reposted here in full, with permission.

May 5, 2015

Baptism Questions

by ChinaSource Team

Most Three-Self churches in China conduct baptism services on Easter Sunday each year. In this translated article from the Gospel Times, the writer shares questions that the pastors at two large churches in China ask of each person being baptized.

Apr 24, 2015

One Hundred Churches of Zhejiang

by Joann Pittman

Due to the so-called “Church and Cross Demolition” campaign, the churches of Zhejiang Province have been in the news a lot over the past year. Whether on TV, online, or in our local newspapers, we have probably all seen heart-breaking pictures of demolished churches and crosses.

Mar 25, 2015

Denominationalism in China: Pre or Post?

by Brent Fulton

While many would applaud the church’s “post-denominational” character as evidence of the unity of the church in China, others today are asking whether a return to denominations is not only inevitable but should, in fact, be welcomed.

Mar 11, 2015

The Church in China: Four Key Challenges

by Joann Pittman

On March 4, 2015, the OMF Global China Newsletter posted an article titled "Challenges for the Church in China." In it the author highlights four key challenges.

Feb 9, 2015

Essentials for Effective Leadership Development

by Brent Fulton

With a plethora of Christian leader development programs on offer in China, it is difficult to know which are appropriate, not to mention which will ultimately prove effective. 

Dec 23, 2014

Preparing for Christmas‬

by ChinaSource Team

Churches in China (both registered and unregistered) are taking advantage of the popularity of Christmas to teach people about the true meaning of the festival.

Nov 3, 2014

Ten Lessons from the Overseas Church

by Joann Pittman

In July, I wrote a post titled "Ten Lessons from the Church in China" in which I highlighted ten responses by foreign Christians in China to the question "what specific lessons can the church in the West learn from the church in China?"

Oct 28, 2014

Calvinism on the Ground in China

by Swells in the Middle Kingdom

In recent years Calvinism has become an increasingly common topic of discussion within Chinese Christian circles. This trend has not gone unnoticed, and many scholars of Christianity in China are working to document and understand the growth of Reformed Christianity within the mainland. 

Oct 19, 2014

In Search of Structure

The Pull of Denominations in China

by Brent Fulton

Chinese Church Voices is running a series of articles taken from a lengthy interview with a Reformed unregistered church pastor in China. The fact that the Christian website in China where the interview originated gave the topic such in-depth attention, and the fact that this particular pastor (and many others like him) are such strong advocates of Reformed theology, raise the question of why denominations have become so attractive to Christians in China.

Oct 12, 2014

Reformed Theology and China’s Urban Church

by Brent Fulton

Reformed theology has found fertile ground in China, particularly among urban unregistered churches.

Oct 12, 2014

Reformed Theology and China’s Urban Church

by Brent Fulton

Reformed theology has found fertile ground in China, particularly among urban unregistered churches.

Sep 30, 2014

Interview with a Reformed Church Pastor (3)

by ChinaSource Team

From the series Interview with a Reformed Church Pastor

In August, the Christian Times published a two-part interview with a pastor from a Reformed church in China. We have translated and divided that interview into three sections. In this section (our Part 3) “Pastor Daniel” discusses the importance of attitude in preaching Reformed doctrine, specific lessons learned, and  how it has impacted renewal in many urban churches in China.

Sep 23, 2014

Interview with a Reformed Church Pastor (2)

by ChinaSource Team

From the series Interview with a Reformed Church Pastor

This is the second part of an interview with a Reformed church pastor that was originally published in the Christian Times. 

Sep 23, 2014

House Churches and Cults – the Dangers of Mistaken Identity

by ChinaSource Team

The BBC article "The Chinese cult that kills 'demons'" prompted a reader to ask recently, "Have you heard of this cult?"

Sep 9, 2014

Interview with a Reformed Church Pastor (1)

by ChinaSource Team

From the series Interview with a Reformed Church Pastor

One of the interesting developments in the church in China over the past decade is growing popularity and influence of Reformed theology, particularly within urban house churches. This has come about as the Christians in China have had increasing opportunities to interact with the church outside of China, either directly, or via the Internet. Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion has been translated into Chinese, as have the writings of prominent voices in the “New Calvinism” movement in the United States, such as Tim Keller, D.A. Carson, and John Piper. Probably the most influential figure, however, is Rev. Stephen Tong, head of the Reformed Evangelical Church of Indonesia.

Aug 26, 2014

Reflections on Worship

by ChinaSource Team

The piece translated below is from a post on the Weixin (WeChat) page of the Beijing Gospel Church, one of the citys more prominent house churches. The writer is sharing his thoughts on the nature of worship in the church.

Aug 12, 2014

Toward a Partnering Mindset

by Brent Fulton

Recently I found myself in a discussion with several colleagues about what it takes to "partner well" in China.

Aug 5, 2014

Pastor Steve Um Talks about the Chinese Church

by Joann Pittman

Rev. Stephen Um, pastor of City Life Presbyterian Church in Boston, recently talked with the folks at China Partnership about his observations and hope for the Chinese church.

Jul 31, 2014

Tools, Not Solutions, for China's Church

by Brent Fulton

A previous generation of Chinese Christians, cut off from all outside contact and separated from their leaders, was forced to rely upon the Lord alone as they sought the way forward. This seeking after God was an important part of their maturing process, and their testimonies bear witness to his faithfulness. While acknowledging that China and its church are at a much different place today, it is nevertheless worth considering whether outside intervention may unintentionally serve to short-circuit the process by which God seeks to mature the current generation of Chinese church leaders.

Jul 25, 2014

Faith and Generosity

Will the Church in China Make the Connection?

by R. Scott Rodin

Generosity is an unequivocal characteristic of the life of a follower of Jesus Christ. It is the joyful life that flows freely and richly from a heart that has been set free by the power of the Holy Spirit. It is the way Christians bear the image of the God who "so loved the world that He gave "

Jul 22, 2014

When Influence and Wariness Meet

by Joann Pittman

A big part of observing China is trying to figure out what is really going on. For those following recent events regarding the church in China, this has been especially true.

Jul 22, 2014

A Book on Drums and Worship

by ChinaSource Team

As the church in China continues to grow and mature, one of the issues that is coming to the fore is that of music. Until recently, much of the music played and sung in Chinese churches has been on the traditional side translated western hymns or indigenous folk-style music (popular in rural churches). Only in the past few years have we seen the emergence of what might be described as Christian Contemporary Music, popular, as one might expect, among the younger generation, particularly in the cities.

Jul 14, 2014

Partnering with China's Church in an Era of Global Convergence

by Brent Fulton

We live in an era when partnership between the church in China and the global church is both desired and increasingly possible. The challenges facing the church in China have evolved significantly in recent decades A survey of these challenges may lead some to conclude that church life in China today is not that much different from church life in the West or among overseas Chinese communities in Asia. Postmodernism, urbanization, secularization, and family breakdown are endemic to industrialized and post-industrialized societies the world over. The difference for China is that it has experienced in thirty years what in most other nations has taken place over a century or more.

Jul 10, 2014

Ten Lessons from the Church in China

by Joann Pittman

As the church in China continues to grow and mature, opportunities to connect and partner with churches in the West continue to grow as well. In many cases, these partnerships provide opportunities for churches in China to learn from the experiences of the churches in the West. This is a good thing.

Jul 1, 2014

A Church for Hani and Yi People in Yunnan

by ChinaSource Team

While much is written about the explosive growth of the church among the Han (dominant ethnic group in China), less is written about the spread of Christianity among the minority peoples. The article translated below is about a county in Yunnan Province that is praying and raising money to build a church.

Jun 25, 2014

Lord, Give Me a Vision

by Joann Pittman

Last month we highlighted a video from the Grace to the City Convention held in Hong Kong in March, which featured the participants singing the popular Getty hymn, "In Christ Alone."

Jun 18, 2014

Next Steps in Walking with Leaders

by ChinaSource Team

"Brother Mark" played a key role in coordinating Walking with Leaders a consultation on mentoring, coaching, and spiritual formation in China hosted by ChinaSource last month in Hong Kong. Here are excerpts from a conversation we had with Brother Mark following the event.

Jun 9, 2014

Faces of Christian Leadership in China

by Brent Fulton

The 2006 China Church Leadership Study, conducted jointly by ChinaSource and Geneva Global Research, identified seven types of Christian leaders in China. While three of these are in traditional church roles at various levels, the other four function largely outside the bounds of the local church and represent the growing role of Christians in China's larger society.