The explosion of China's online Christian community has not only provided believers with a new platform for expressing their faith, it is also helping to meet practical needs within the Christian community. Recently Chinese Church Voices featured an article from the online Christian newspaper Gospel Times about Christian dating websites in China.
This article identified seven such sites, with names such as "Love 2 in 1" and "Christian Heavenly Love." According to the article, the need for such services is particularly acute in the church, where single women commonly outnumber men. This imbalance within individual congregations makes finding a likeminded husband difficult.
The article describes the various sites, their history, and the services they offer, which often go beyond simply creating an online space for people to meet prospective spouses. These include:
- A place to access marriage advice from qualified professional counselors
- "Success stories" of couples who have found one another through the site
- Enhancing unity among Christians by providing a place for building friendships, not just dating relationships
- Online courses related to dating and marriage.
In an era when individual urban congregations are proliferating, how to build a sense of community across the larger body of Christ is a serious challenge faced by China's Christian leaders. The internet provides one solution to this challenge. In a very practical way, these Christian dating sites are helping to build bridges among believers in other communities and other cities. Their example may provide a model for other kinds of online resource sharing in the future.
Image credit: Joann Pittman
Brent Fulton is the founder of ChinaSource. Prior to assuming his current position, he served from 1995 to 2000 as the managing director of the Institute for Chinese Studies at Wheaton College. From 1987 to 1995 he served as founding US director of China Ministries International, and from 1985 to... View Full Bio