Honor-Shame Culture and Its Impact on Chinese Missionary Retention and Attrition

Chinese Christians have grown up speaking one of the most complex languages, facing periods of exceptional opposition, and rapidly becoming urbanized under the world’s second-largest economy. The Chinese church is set to become an irresistible and irrefutable force in the realm of global missions based upon its nature and resources.

The sensitivity that surrounds Christian service both at home and abroad has left the specifics of the current Chinese missionary front uncertain. This paper considers several Chinese honor-shame cultural constructs that could potentially encourage retention and avoid premature and preventable missionary attrition.

The conclusion of this study clearly demonstrates that, although there are possible barriers to hinder Chinese effectiveness on the global mission field, the potential far outweighs the hindrances. An awareness of honor-shame dynamics will limit attrition and result in healthy and efficacious missionary retention.

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Image courtesy of a friend of ChinaSource.

Alopen Song

Alopen Song (pseudonym), BA, MBS, MAICS. The pseudonym was chosen based on ancient and more recent Chinese church history. Alopen was one of the first recorded missionaries to China listed on a famous 8th century Nestorian stele in Xi’an. Song Shangjie (宋尙节) criticized the liberal theological training he received at …View Full Bio