The Nuts and Bolts of IMM from China

This issue of the ChinaSource Quarterly features some significant breakthroughs in the development of the Indigenous Mission Movement (IMM) from China.

The lead article by Qing Quan, on the development of the “good neighbor” model of missions from Wenzhou, is the first of its kind that traces an indigenous missiology from theology to practice. Qing Quan integrates history, missiological insights, and practice into the article as indicated by Brent Fulton’s brief analysis immediately following the article.

Wang and Kam provide another perspective of the missions movement. Drawing from numerous case studies, they condense the insights into 15 key points. These provide a bird’s eye view of the overall movement as opposed to Qing Quan who focuses on the development of a particular branch. The Chinese unabridged originals of both of these articles are available by download. (See the individual articles.)  We have presented shortened, English, synopses in this issue to make their work available to English readers.

Gudao’s presentation of missiology for the Chinese church is a cry from the watchman on the wall to wake up the church to her responsibility in God’s kingdom. He outlines how the Chinese church can participate in God’s plan for reaching the nations.

The article based on my interviews with frontline workers telling of their hard-learned lessons brings the mission movement much closer to home. This is probably the first time such a frank and open sharing of their struggles is documented. 

These first four articles, which comprise over two-thirds of the issue, are all contributed by indigenous sources. This is a vivid illustration of the growing maturity of the Chinese church in the mission movement. For this, we celebrate and give thanks to the Lord. I certainly expect this trend to continue in the days ahead. Perhaps in a future issue all the writers will be indigenous leaders.

The remainder of the issue features two pieces by Peter Bryant from a Western point of view. However, he understands China very well, having lived his entire adult life there. He starts with how the Chinese can do missions both in (and across) China verses out of China. He then continues with an analysis of the Belt and Road Initiative, highlighting the opportunities and challenges.

Finally, the book review by Richard Cook looks at a recent publication that truly carries out-of-the-box thinking. Andrew Kaiser’s book on Timothy Richard challenges the conventional classification of putting Richard in the non-evangelical camp as one of the early missionaries to China.

May all the articles in this issue stretch the minds of readers, challenge each one to look at China from a fresh angle, and give everyone a renewed commitment towards enabling the church in her effort to reach the world.

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WU Xi (pseudonym) began serving China during the mid-70s, just before China’s Open Door policy was implemented. He served in many different capacities including working with Chinese scholars studying in the West, front-line evangelistic work, and church mobilization for China. He now focuses on developing China’s mission ecosystem.View Full Bio