This month we welcome the Year of the Dog as millions across China and around the world pause to celebrate the new year with friends and family. Here we look at the "new" in New Year, with some thoughts on what lies ahead for China and for ChinaSource.
Dr Brent Fulton
Greetings for the Chinese New Year of the Dog! For the past few weeks everything red has been appearing with increasing frequency as many millions of people get ready for Spring Festival (or Chinese New Year as it is known outside of China). Spring Festival is an important holiday in China and also an important and pivotal time for us.
The traditional focus for Spring Festival has been on “new”—new clothes for children, new haircuts for adults, old things are cleaned out of the house, and everyone gets ready to celebrate a new year. This is an exciting time to be in China as we witness the largest annual human migration (an astounding total estimate for this year of 2.98 billion near and far trips being made via plane, train, bus and car), millions of Chinese tourists leaving China, and many special events. This is a time of family reunions and celebrations. Major cities like Beijing become almost like ghost towns as traffic disappears from the streets and many shops close for the holiday.
There are other new items in China at this time. On February 1 new religious regulations went into effect governing all official and unofficial religions in China. Over the past two years these were circulated in draft form for public comment and then finalized last year. In the coming months ChinaSource will stay busy following how the government implements and how local churches respond to these new regulations. Pray for Chinese church leaders who are facing many known and unknown challenges and have to make critical decisions for their local fellowships.
In society at large there are many discussions about China’s role in the world in this new era. Churches in China are also seeing new responsibilities and new opportunities as their country takes a larger role on the world stage.
There are also new things for our ChinaSource team. Starting in January we added one new team member to help with our operations and organization. Most of the time we operate as a virtual team split between China, Hong Kong, and the USA. Each week multiple emails, phone calls, and conference calls keep us working together. In early March we will have an important two-day team meeting where we will be able to get almost the entire team into one room where we can pray, think, and work together on the new challenges and new opportunities for ChinaSource.
After Spring Festival comes a burst of activity with the New Year. Have you ever wondered how and why the Chinese church has been growing so rapidly in recent decades? In the coming weeks we will be co-hosting a research forum on how churches grow in China to help answer this question. We are also working on our first ebook to be available soon on our website.
Thanks for your prayers, support, fellowship, and partnership around what God is doing in China.
News and Notes
- On January 28 Hannah Lau spoke at Emmanuel English Church in Hong Kong. Click on “My Goodness” to listen.
- The Gospel Coalition published Brent’s article, "China’s Rise and the Church’s Call” on January 30.The article looks at China’s growing prominence in the world and what this means for the church in the West. You can read or listen to it on the TGC website.
- On February 10 Joann Pittman spoke about church bells in China at the Minneapolis chapter of China Outreach Ministries.
Ways to Pray
- Pray for Chinese pastors and leaders as they navigate a new set of religious regulations. Pray that the government will allow believers to live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness (I Timothy 2:1-2).
- Pray for the ChinaSource team as we make important decisions for our work this year.
- Pray for Brent Fulton and the research consortium as they plan for the next step of interviews and surveys.
- Pray for the ChinaSource board meeting in late March as they look at our 2017 results and plans to implement a new strategic plan.
In Case You Missed It
A selection of recently published items:
- 3 Questions: A New Look at Chinese Christians, ChinaSource Blog, January 17.
- Supporting Children in Cross-Cultural Transition, ChinaSource Blog, January 19.
- 3 Questions: Jennifer Lin, ChinaSource Blog, January 22.
- A Sojourner’s Story, ChinaSource Blog (CCV), January 23.
- China’s Mission Movement: A Call to Incarnation, ChinaSource Blog, January 24.
- A Winter Reading Recommendation, ChinaSource Blog, January 26.
- Beijing! ChinaSource Blog, January 29.
- Why Christians in China Must Prepare Themselves for the New Regulations on Religious Affairs, ChinaSource Blog (CCV), January 30.
- Not Exclusively Political: Learning from the Diversity of China’s Church, ChinaSource Blog, January 31.
- China’s Fake Boyfriends: A Film Review, ChinaSource Blog, February 2.
- 10 Quotes about China’s Rise and the Church, ChinaSource Blog, February 5.
- New Religious Regulations: Another View, ChinaSource Blog (CCV), February 6.
- Is “Back to Jerusalem” Biblical? ChinaSource Blog, February 7.
- "One Gospel for All Nations": A Book Review, ChinaSource Blog, February 9.
- China and the Vatican, ChinaSource Blog, February 12.
- Do You Have a Message for Your 18-Year-Old Self? ChinaSource Blog (CCV), February 13.
- Are China’s Churches Too Much Alike? ChinaSource Blog, February 14.
- Fire, Noise, and Red! Happy New Year! ChinaSource Blog, February 16.
- Religious Regulations and the Cross, ChinaSource Blog, February 19.
- Serving Those Away from Home, ChinaSource Blog (CCV), February 20.
- Partnering in China, ChinaSource Blog, February 21
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