The Lantern

Cooperating to Advance God’s Kingdom

As China and Hong Kong continue to change in dramatic ways, we are reminded to be open and receptive to God’s plans for his people. While believers face ever tightening restrictions, we are called to rely on our Heavenly Father and to turn to our fellow workers to pool resources and knowledge. For this month’s issue of The Lantern, I am pleased to turn the keyboard over to Joann Pittman, our Vice-President of Partnerships and China Engagement. Joann has some timely ideas for us to consider, as ChinaSource and the entire China ministry community contemplate how best to move forward in this new era.

Kerry Schottelkorb

Ministry Partnership in the New Era

When I was in grad school, I had a professor whose favorite pedagogy was forming collaborative teams to work on projects and solve problems. “Cooperate and graduate,” he used to tell us. That slogan has stuck with me over the years as I have had the opportunity to work on a variety of teams, both in China and the US. I think it captures well the spirit of collaboration that is necessary in the China ministry community.

At ChinaSource, we work in collaborative partnerships, both formal and informal, with like-minded organizations and individuals. By working together to accomplish mutually beneficial and determined vision and objectives, we are able to better serve, support, and strengthen the China ministry community, thereby serving, supporting, and strengthening the church in China. 

Our commitment to collaboration is rooted in our belief that unity in the ministry community comes through recognizing the unique roles, gifts, and resources that each individual and organization brings to advance the kingdom of God in China and globally, and that working together for their strategic deployment results in multiplied effectiveness. We are grateful to God that over the years he has allowed us to develop a broad network of collaborative relationships.

The core activities embedded in our mission are educating and connecting. We educate the global church on critical issues facing the church and ministries in China. We connect Christians inside and outside of China, providing a platform for engagement and mutual learning. These are done for the purpose of advancing the kingdom of God globally. We cannot do this alone. Rather, we are convinced that the accomplishment of this mission requires partnerships. It is through partnerships that we educate and connect.

We believe that an informed understanding of China and the experience of the Chinese people, both historical and contemporary, is critical to effectiveness.

Broadly speaking, we can divide our partnership activities into four broad categories: content generation, events, networking, and consulting.

We have a strong and growing network of contributors, both Chinese and non-Chinese on whom we rely to tell gospel-centered stories of what God is doing in China, and to provide analysis on the issues facing Christians in China.

We collaborate with various academic institutions, organizations, and churches to host online webinars, ChinaSource Connect events, and to provide speaking services.

Behind the scenes we introduce individuals and ministries unknown to each other, but who share similar visions for serving churches in China. We also regularly convene smaller groups for online encouragement and prayer.

Finally, we are privileged to consult with various ministries on the current situation in China and potential opportunities for future involvement, as well as providing background information for a number of media outlets, both Christian and secular.

As a result of these strategic partnerships, ChinaSource has been able to assist with the formation of new ministry initiatives, help organizations and individuals gain a better understanding of the changing ministry environment in China, and be a platform for Chinese Christians to speak to the global Christian community.

Despite a difficult environment in China, God continues to build his church. At ChinaSource we are grateful for the role we have been given in the work of serving the church there. If you would like to partner with us, please feel free to reach out.

Visit our Partnerships page to learn about some of our partners. Each organization has a wealth of experience in cross-cultural work and a unique lens on ministry.

Joann Pittman
Vice-President of Partnerships and China Engagement

Ways to Pray

  • Praise the Lord for the many opportunities to share the gospel in mainland China despite intensifying obstacles (See “Sober Optimism: Opposition and Opportunity” by Robert Menzies, ChinaSource Blog, July 6).
  • Pray that Christians globally would respond to opportunities to reach out to Chinese people in their midst (See “Can My Church and I Really Impact the People of China?” by Beau Miller, ChinaSource Blog, June 15).
  • Pray that the Lord will quicken the advance of the gospel within China’s intellectual community (See “Faith and Science Dialogue among Chinese Christians,” reposted from Christianity Today, ChinaSource Blog, July 13).
  • Ask the Lord of the Harvest to raise up the next generation of pastors in mainland China (See “The Problem of Succession,” ChinaSource Blog (CCV), July 12 for greater context).
  • Pray for a greater understanding and God’s heart of love for the Chinese people and the challenges they face. (See Ascension: A Film Review” by Hannah Lau, ChinaSource Blog, July 18, for details).
  • Praise the Lord with us that ChinaSource continues to serve as a hub by which the Chinese and global churches can learn, serve, and grow together.
  • Join with us in praying for God’s provision for ChinaSource throughout the summer months.

News and Notes

Webinar Recording

Where Are the Churches in China? And Why?

If you were not able to join the live webinar with Dr. Fenggang Yang on June 16, the webinar was recorded and is now publicly available on our website and YouTube channel.

In his webinar, Dr. Yang presented the geographical distribution of Catholic and Protestant churches in China, discussed several distinctive characteristics of the churches and their locations, and traced some of the historical and social patterns of church development. Be sure to check out the webinar page to find additional resources for further reading on this important topic.

In Case You Missed It

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Editor’s note: Joann Pittman’s message first appeared on the ChinaSource Blog, “Partnerships: ‘Cooperate and Graduate,'” on May 20, 2022.

Image credit: Natali Morales @nmorales17 via UnSplash.
ChinaSource Team

ChinaSource Team

Written or edited by members of the ChinaSource staff.          View Full Bio

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