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China’s Children

A New Generation, New Opportunity, and New Commitment

God is on the move. Could this tiny article change the lives of many? Could it do more than inform and challenge? I think so. Those of you reading this could be part of a journey, led by the Holy Spirit, that commenced about a year ago. Intrigued? Read on.

China is Taking Over the World

History is amusingly being rewritten as China gains confidence and exerts its claims on, not only today's Asia, but yester-years world. Was golf a Chinese invention? Did the Chinese discover America first? Were the first humans Chinese or Africans? Was Jesus, in fact, Chinese?

The economic miracle of China holds the potential of transforming the region, and if the liberalising process extends to include the rural poor, the world could soon have itself a new superpower. Growth, though, can be stunted by environmental catastrophe, by epidemic disease like AIDS, SARS or Avian flu, by global conflict ensuing around either Taiwan or North Korea, or by a communist backlash against liberalising forces.

Regardless of geopolitics, the eternal destiny of China's billions is vitally important to God. The question to ask is: "What is God doing to reach these multitudes of people, and what can we do to accelerate that agenda?"

God's "Number One Strategy"

Arrogance and assumption is the mother of all failure, and to suggest that we know God's primary strategy is a dangerous—perhaps even foolish—assertion. However, allow me to perhaps overstate the case in order to redress the balance.

To change a nation takes 30 years and it starts with children. Children are the key. They are curious, fun-loving, and they have time to learn and explore. There are more children in China than people in America, and many of themespecially in the countryare facing great risks: they are hungry, hurting and homeless. Children are strategicbiologically, spiritually, emotionally and educationally.

A friend pointed out his experience from southern China where for five years the church saw growth, and then it stopped for two years. It was a dry barren time. Many people prayed but nothing happened. Then, in 2003, through a fostering project, some of the Christians started to take the children from the orphanages and, amazingly, many were added to the church, many more than before. Local people needed to see faith in action.

As we look at God's world, we have to acknowledge that children are important. Children are the single greatest opportunity to advance the Great Commission in our generation.

A Critical Accelerator

The people I speak to working in China are still careful, but they are clear that the doors are wide open. The opportunities to teach and care are there, but we need more people to seize them. As I talked with people, they were keen to emphasize that they needed more volunteers. A good friend of mine wanted a disability therapist to come and help her minister to disabled children. Another wants an expert on HIV and addiction issues to run a 10- to 14-day training course to help local leaders respond to these issues. Another friend needs great project managers to run a fostering program. There are opportunities to set up day care programs for the rich and the poor, for holding AIDS awareness workshops, for running summer camps, for working with migrant workersand the list could go on.

What people point to as missing is a clearing housea China's Children Ministry Connection Centre. This type of agency would connect needs with resources. It would be a place that could proactively scout for opportunities, develop a website listing them appropriately, screen interested parties, make introductions and perhaps organize a child-specific meeting with concrete opportunities at China conferences. This clearing house would beat a drum for China's children, especially in the churches of Australia, North America, Singapore, Britain and South Korea.

Could you—yes, you reading this article—help pull this together? You can help in a number of ways.

  • Prayer: This will be a battle as it will accelerate critical ministry work in a critical context. It will need enduring prayer. Could you pray?
  • People: Finding a champion for this concept is a critical need. A person or a team of people, that would develop and drive this concept forward, is crucial. Might you be that person?
  • Plan: Next, we need a thorough business plan which would develop the self-sustainability mechanism of this work. From fees for successful introductions or from grants raised, this program should become self-sustainable over a period of three to four years. Can you develop the first draft?
  • Pennies: Another great way of helping this along would be to contribute money, either towards the development of the clearing house or as working capital that could be placed with specific opportunities such as camping ministry, orphan care or evangelistic work. Can you pledge support for this?

Friends, I could go on but I won't. Rather than read, fold your hands, bow your head, and pray right now that this comes together—this is the day!

Come on; let's go help a bunch of children!

Patrick McDonald

Patrick McDonald, a well known writer and speaker on children at risk, is the founding director of Viva Network and the Senior Associate for Children at Risk for the Lausanne Movement. He can be reached by email.View Full Bio