Blog Entries by Si Shi (四石)
Christians of today need to hold the Bible in one hand and the daily newspaper in the other. Understanding both, with attention to the thrust of meaning of each, Christians can be a bridge facilitating God’s purposes in today’s world.
Elements of the Chinese church are passionate about participating in the great commission. There is a freshness, an enthusiasm, an excitement about taking the gospel of Christ to unreached parts of the world. To what extent should the international church, an older, more experienced church, undergird these efforts? Come alongside in a supportive role?
The same difficulties that local churches in the west have had in sending out workers cross-culturally are being seen in Chinese churches as they send missionaries beyond their borders. Are mission-sending organiszations needed to minimize those difficulties?
Family needs, particularly the needs of the spouse and children, are among the causes of the high attrition rate among Chinese long-term missionaries.
The Chinese church is vibrant and has growing passion to participate in missionary sending through undertakings like the Back to Jerusalem (BTJ) movement and the Indigenous Mission Movement from China (IMM China). Chinese Christians feel God calling them to long-term mission service. The principal factor encouraging them to long-term sustainable service is calling.
For a missionary, raising support is no easy task. When we were preparing for our first term of service, I wasn’t sure how we were ever going to raise the required budget. But for Chinese missionaries, the task is even harder. Coming from a culture that is not accustomed to supporting missionaries, obtaining financial backing is an uphill struggle.
When I first went overseas, I thought things like medical insurance and retirement planning weren’t too important. Further, as funding for those two items added to the overall budget and that budget needed to be raised through supporters I personally contacted, I felt that these items were excessive. It seemed to me at the time that these items only delayed my matriculation to the field and added to the church’s financial burden in sending me and my family. I reasoned that God would take care of us anyway. Twenty years later, with retirement age nearing, (which won’t necessarily cause me to retire), I am grateful for the foresight of organizational leadership. And with my family members needing multiple previously unforeseen surgeries, I am grateful for the care we have received.