While much attention has been given in the West to the Chinese church's Back to Jerusalem vision, the realization of this vision has been a slow and difficult process. The remarks made here at a commissioning service for one couple headed for the Middle East highlight the crucial role of the sending church in ensuring the long-term sustainability of those who are being sent. Although relatively young, Zion Church, a thriving unregistered congregation in Beijing, has a strong missionary vision. Together with similar congregations in other urban centers, Zion is committed to sending and supporting Christian workers beyond Chinas borders.
The Chinese church must seriously consider its responsibility and role in the sending of missionaries
"I see the rise of a missions-minded Chinese church," said the leader of an international missions organization, a man who has devoted many years to world missions.
This missions leader shared this at a commissioning service during the 5th anniversary of the Beijing Zion Church.
During a May 26th commissioning service, approximately ten pastors from Beijing, Xian, overseas Chinese churches, and international churches prayed together for a missionary family. They are on their way to be engaged in missions in the Middle East, to carry out the Westward Movement of the Gospel vision.
The leader of this international missions organization, after commissioning the missionaries, took the pulpit to share, and exhort the attendees. With an overwhelmingly thankful heart, he proclaimed, "I see the rise of a Chinese church that loves missions." He believes that God has been at work in the Chinese church in recent years, bringing about spiritual growth and revival. He continued, "Why has God shown favor to the Chinese church? It is because generations of believers who have been watching, waiting, and praying have gone before us."
As someone with many years of experience in leading cross-cultural missions, he is very aware of the difficulties that missionaries face. Therefore, the church aims to provide wholehearted support to the missionaries they send out, while themselves being careful and wise in their actions.
He shared a true story of failed mission work: An American church that was facing many difficulties sent a missionary family to Africa. At that time, Africa was more like a tomb for white people; they were as sheep among wolves, in an incredibly frightening context. But this missionary family set out with pure and innocent hearts, offering themselves to serve in that arduous place. However, the work was difficult, and it wasn't long before the missionary's wife and children all became sick and died. From then on, this missionary gave up all hope, eventually purchasing a ticket secretly, and not telling anyone, returned home to his sending church. Without anyone seeing him, he went to a Friday prayer service, after which he took the pulpit and said, "You have not been responsible to your missionaries. You only sent us out and gave us money each month, but you haven't prayed for us. If you had prayed for us, we wouldn't have had such hardships. We went down into a deep spiritual hole, and you were holding the rope at the other end. You promised that you would hold onto that rope tightly, but you didn't, so I fell in."
Sending missionaries is a glorious thing, but the church must be strong after sending them; it is of the utmost importance to wholeheartedly support missionaries on the front line," said this pastor.
"Missionaries are on the front line in spiritual warfare, and we are their rear support. We shouldn't think that sending financial support every month fulfills our duty; that is completely wrong. We must pray for them at every meal.
"What he shared inspired the believers gathered there to want to truly shoulder the responsibility of supporting missionaries. Not only this, but it is clear that the missions leader's words are a good warning to the Chinese church, which is increasingly involved in world missions.
A pastor once said a commissioning service is like a wedding, a one-time occurrence. Marriage is for a lifetime, just like the relationship between a sending church and a missionary. A sending church does not only care about the glory of sending, but must perseveringly and responsibly support the missionaries; only then can they fight the battles of spiritual warfare together. This rising, missions-minded Chinese church must think about and strengthen the role of the sending church, taking on important responsibilities and helping to carry the burdens of the missionaries they send out.
Source: Gospel Times
Image credit: Dubai Panorama, by Michael Theis, via Flickr
Are you enjoying a cup of good coffee or fragrant tea while reading the latest ChinaSource post? Consider donating the cost of that “cuppa” to support our content so we can continue to serve you with the latest on Christianity in China.