Recently I have learned more about a missions group in China. Because of security issues and not wanting to bring unwanted attention to the group, I will not include any names or locations in this article. In fact, I will be quite vague. I hope the readers can still get some idea of the efforts of the Chinese house church to effectively send out Chinese missionaries. The Lord is working in big ways to mobilize Chinese Christians to reach the nations.
I’m sure there are many similar groups around China that I don’t know about, but I know of one particular missions group that has sent out no small number of missionaries. Most of their workers are serving in Muslim countries, even in closed countries where missionaries are not allowed to serve openly.
This missions group is sending out their workers in teams of at least two families. By going as a team they can encourage each other in the work and spur one another on to endure and bear fruit among the local people. They can be accountable to one another and help lift up the other’s eyes to focus on Christ when discouraged.
The missionaries make a five-year commitment to stay in the country where they are sent. They are required to spend the first couple of years in their new country doing full-time language study. The missions group doesn’t want their workers to move to these Muslim nations and serve among the Chinese who live there. That’s what many Chinese Christians have done who have been connected to Chinese churches in China and have moved to Muslim nations to work. Rather, this group wants their workers to reach the local people. The only way to do that is to learn their language and dive into their culture.
After two years of full-time language study, the missionaries get involved in work that can provide them a visa to stay long term.
All the needed financial support for the missionaries comes from house churches in China. They intentionally do not accept any financial help from overseas Christians. They want to be financially independent from foreign Christians—which I think is a great idea. The Chinese house churches are responsible for raising all the funds needed for the missionaries. So far the Lord has provided abundantly for this missions group financially— they’ve been able to raise more than enough funds.
To be considered as a missionary candidate, first the person goes to a missions training center for a couple of years. Once finished at the training center, the person does an internship in a local house church. After a year or two, if the person is still interested in serving overseas, he or she can apply with the sending agency. Previously most of the missionaries who went out had very little education, but now the sending agency is trying to require at least a college degree from applicants. This will help them greatly both in getting a work visa and being able to master the local language.
When I heard of all this, I was so excited to hear the amazing things the Lord is doing through this group. They are not only training the missionaries and providing the finances, they are also putting great effort into helping them thrive on the field and seeing fruit and transformed lives among the local people. I pray that they can set an example for future efforts by the Chinese house churches to effectively send Chinese missionaries to reach the nations.
Our prayer for these missionaries and other leaders in this group is: “… that [they] may bear fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might,” Colossians 1:10, 11.
Tabor Laughlin (pseudonym) is a PhD student in Intercultural Studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He received his MDiv from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Missions and his bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from Oklahoma State University. He has been serving in China for ten years, and is president of a …View Full Bio
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