By at least some calculations, the size of China’s economy exceeded that of the United States this month, putting China in first place. Setting aside the fine points of those calculations (which will likely be the subject of much debate for some time to come), it is clear that China’s economic rise has had far-reaching consequences –including for the Body of Christ – both domestically and internationally,.
For China’s Christians the effects of economic growth have been relentless, especially during the past 15 years of rapid urbanization. The needs of the church have changed dramatically as the church in China has transformed from a largely rural, socially marginalized, financially poor, and politically persecuted minority to an increasingly influential community advancing the Gospel in dynamic ways in China’s major cities. Looking ahead, here are a few areas that we at ChinaSource believe are critical to the future of the church, along with how we seek to address these.
Leaders that Last
China’s Christian leaders not only need Biblical and theological education and training in ministry skills; to be effective over the long term they also need ongoing mentoring, and they need to be mentoring others. Personal soul care is necessary so that they might remain strong and have the spiritual resources to minister to those whom they lead. Recognizing these needs, ChinaSource is partnering with several organizations in the areas of mentoring, coaching, and spiritual formation. Following last May’s Walking with Leaders consultation, two coach trainings and a seminar on mentoring have been held in China and Hong Kong. At least three more trainings will be offered early next year, along with a series of webinars featuring experienced practitioners who share their insights about developing leaders in China.
A key question as China becomes more prosperous is whether China will also become more generous. During this past year we have been blessed to get to know committed believers who are active in China’s emerging philanthropy and charity sectors. Through the Faith and Generosity in China Initiative, we are walking with the Chinese church as it transitions from being a receiving church to a giving church. Together with partners in the publishing, media and training fields we are developing resources that will equip believers to be faithful stewards in all areas of life.
A Christian Worldview
Many Christian parents are seeking an alternative to China’s atheistic state education system, as they believe that giving their children a Christian worldview is critical to the future of China’s church. New models are emerging for Christian education, involving parents and church leaders in China as well as Christian schools outside. ChinaSource is helping to facilitate an ongoing dialog about how these entities can work together to write a new chapter in Christian education in China.
2015 promises to be a pivotal year as we grasp more clearly the nature and implications of China’s new role in the world economy. China’s economic growth continues to bring fresh opportunities for the church, as well as new challenges.
As you celebrate our Lord’s coming this season, remember to pray for brothers and sisters in China as they too celebrate, that China might be a nation that prospers not only economically but spiritually as well.
The ChinaSource Team
- Lift up churches in China as they share the true message of Christmas during this holiday season. May many in China come to know the Savior as a result.
- Pray for God’s hand upon China’s leaders, that they would make wise decisions and, most of all, would recognize their need for God.
- Ask the Lord to guard the hearts of Christian leaders who face new temptations as a result of China’s newfound economic prosperity. Pray for those who are seeking to equip these leaders for long-term effectiveness.
- Pray for the development of new training resources to equip Christians in China to steward their relationships, resources, and influence in a manner that glorifies Christ and advances his kingdom.
- Intercede on behalf of Christian parents, pastors, and educators as they endeavor to equip the church’s next generation with a Christian worldview.
- Lift up the ChinaSource team, that we would be discerning and faithful as we seek to serve the church during a time of momentous change.
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