Swells in the Middle Kingdom
Church leaders first need to learn to see missions as organic to their fellowship’s identity in this world…. Cross-cultural workers need to recognize and embrace their role as messengers to their home churches…committing more time and energy to communicating well with their supporters back home.
The End of an Era?
As expatriates move from founders and leaders to colleagues, and now consultants, foreign contributions are increasingly in the nature of support and encouragement from behind the scenes, providing practical help in a few key areas as requested.
The End of an Era?
The experiences of the few remaining expatriate cross-cultural workers in China suggest that while we are not at the end of Christian development work in China, we are confronted with a substantially different ministry context.
The experience of ministering as an expatriate in China is quite different today, as those who remain struggle to carve out meaningful roles in an increasingly challenging environment.
Many Chinese believers enter the church at times of personal crisis. Financial troubles, broken relationships, health emergencies—real world trials often reveal to Chinese people the fractured nature of their safety nets, as friends, family, and the state fail to provide them with what they need. These moments of brokenness can be used by God to open people’s hearts to their own weakness and God’s strength.
While social service has long been part of missionary work in mainland China, today a host of different factors are driving Chinese Christians to explore for themselves the place of humanitarian concerns within gospel ministry. For a growing number of local Christians, loving one’s neighbor through acts of service is rapidly becoming an indispensable aspect of Christian witness. This essay will first explore the role of social service in the history of mission in China before analyzing its place in the ministry of the contemporary Chinese church.
Choosing to face hardship—for remaining in China seemed foolish to almost everyone back in February—has brought us tremendous blessing, as each of us has experienced in the most concrete ways imaginable the solid trustworthiness of God’s promise: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”