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Speeding Up? Or Slowing Down?

A Study on the Current Church Growth Situation in China

[…] views about church growth in China saying the annual growth rate is five percent, eight percent, or even ten percent. Moreover, it has been predicted that the number of Christians in China will reach two hundred and fifty million by the year 2030. Other people, however, take a different point of view, one that is not as optimistic. They believe that church growth in China is slowing down. For those who are involved in China ministry, in order to do practical, strategic planning and to be good stewards of God’s resources, it is essential to find out exactly what changes are affecting church growth and development. Therefore, a research team formed by various organizations carried out a pilot research project, Church Development and Growth in China’s Mobile, Urban Context. One of the main purposes of this research is to explore the church growth situation in China, to study the developmental trends of the Chinese church, including numerical growth, stability, or reduction in attendance. From March 6, 2017 to January 2, 2018, a survey was conducted in 263 churches at different places in China. The samples were selected from traditional Bible-belt areas where generally the Christian population density is higher than that of other places in China. We assume that if the growth rate of these areas is a certain percentage, then the whole country’s rate will not be higher than that figure. Trying to discover the trend of church growth, among other questions, we put the following three indicators into the questionnaire: The current number: number of people currently attending Sunday service in this church Number from five years ago: number of people who attended Sunday service in this church five years ago Number from previous week: the number of people who attended Sunday service the Sunday before the interview day By analyzing the above indicators, we can roughly gain the following information about these selected areas:  What percentage of local churches have positive growth, zero growth, or negative growth? The average growth in congregation size of the sampled churches First of all, let us compare the current reported size to the number of attendees five years ago. Table 1: “Current Reported Number” VS “Number from Five Years Ago” Sample Churches Current > Five Years Ago No Change Current < Five Years Ago Total Municipality/Provincial Capital 69.0% 18.3% 12.7% 100.0% City 83.7% 5.8% 10.5% 100.0% County/Town 74.2% 12.9% 12.9% 100.0% […]

Blog Entries

Reading Tea Leaves from the 2021 National Religious Work Conference

[…] loving their religion”). It encompasses a number of activities that are formal, such as registration of a new congregation, and informal, such as calling pastors on the phone to check on them. The overall goal is to “actively guide religions to adapt to socialist society,” which means to follow the line set by the […]

Blog Entries

Islam has the largest number of under-30 believers in China?

Christian Today has posted an article with this headline: “Islam is the most popular religion for under-30s in China." The lead says: Islam has the largest number of young believers in China, new research has found, despite the growth of Christianity in the country and an atheist government. The China Religion Survey 2015, released […]

Chinese Church Voices

When Your Phone Becomes a Substitute for True Relationships

What would lead an 18-year-old boy from a top class to stab his teacher and show no remorse? In this interview transcript, originally published on the mainland blog Territory, host Wenjun speaks with Jiang Peirong, a Taiwanese psychologist and Christian, about what might have led to this shocking event.


Policy, Implementation, and Shifting Official Perceptions of the Church in China

The Chinese Communist Party’s basic stance toward religion has not changed since it was spelled out in Document number 19 in 1982. Commonly referred to as the “three designates” formula, this policy restricts religious activities to approved locations, requires that they be conducted by approved clergy and limits their scope to the geographic sphere […]

Blog Entries

The End of Cheap China

[…] and Managing Director of the China Market Research Group, and he is also a frequent contributing commentator on Shaun's new book is titled The End of Cheap China. In the book, he interviews Chinese billionaires, senior government officials, migrant workers and even prostitutes to track China's evolution, leading to his insights on how […]

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Anticipating Urban China

[…] of relationships. In office buildings, if conversations have important content, people will meet in hallways or outdoors to talk. The Falungong organizers made extensive use of cell phones and the internet, but the security organs are working overtime to master ways of controlling and monitoring these advanced means of communication. This type of atmosphere […]

Lead Article

Religious Statistics in China

Current evidence is that religion is flourishing in China. However, practical problems make statistical statements for the number of religious believers in China quite hazardous. The author cautiously examines the evidence that exists for each of the five, major, officially-recognized religious faiths in China.

Blog Entries

The Final Number Is In!

[…] you all for the exciting December finish to the 2021 fundraising effort. As you may have heard, we finished the year with a matching challenge of US$ 100,000, put forward by two different friends of ChinaSource. The final tally is done, and together, you, our community of support, provided US$136,761.03 toward the challenge and […]

The Lantern

Now That China Is Number One

[…] consequences –including for the Body of Christ – both domestically and internationally,. For China’s Christians the effects of economic growth have been relentless, especially during the past 15 years of rapid urbanization. The needs of the church have changed dramatically as the church in China has transformed from a largely rural, socially marginalized, financially […]