Ten years ago this month I was attending a conference in a Southeast Asian city. Among the participants were several young leaders of newly formed urban churches in China.
Just as the conference was preparing to get underway, we were shocked as we received the first reports of a massive earthquake that had struck Western China. As more news emerged we sat stunned, trying to comprehend the depth of the tragedy that was unfolding in Wenchuan and the surrounding area. The conference agenda gave way to spontaneous prayer on behalf of those affected.
Meanwhile the urban pastors in our midst were busy on their mobile phones, making calls to their congregations back home. They began mobilizing their people to respond to the tragedy in Sichuan. Over the next several months, thousands of Christians from more than 20 cities converged upon the earthquake zone to offer material support, counseling, healthcare, and assistance in the long process of rebuilding. Unprecedented in recent history, this spontaneous outpouring of Christian love marked the beginning of a new era for China’s church.
A decade later Christians in China continue to reach out in creative and practical ways to demonstrate the love of Christ.
Reflecting on this new era in which we serve, we at ChinaSource recognize our need for an updated vision that speaks to the realities of China and the church in China today.
This renewed vision statement was adopted last fall by the Board of ChinaSource on the occasion of our 20th anniversary:
China's Christians engaging the society inside and outside of China as they contribute to and influence the global church conversation for the advancement of God’s Kingdom.
Unlike our previous vision, which emphasized the role of individuals and organizations from outside China, this new vision places China’s Christians front and center. It recognizes their role in engaging Chinese society—just as many urban churches began doing ten years ago in Sichuan. It also acknowledges their role within the larger body of Christ. As China takes a position of greater prominence on the world scene, so China’s Christians are also assuming new roles globally as they join hands with believers outside China.
The ensuing conversation around how Christians inside and outside China can serve together effectively has implications not only for China but also for the church globally. ChinaSource seeks to foster this conversation as a bridge for building relationships and for sharing vision, ideas and resources that will advance God’s purposes in China and beyond.
Brent Fulton is the president of ChinaSource and the editor of the ChinaSource Quarterly. 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... View Full Bio