It has been well over a year since ChinaSource launched the Faith and Generosity in China Initiative. We are beginning to see a multi-organizational effort emerge that is aimed at equipping this generation of Chinese Christians to embrace their role as stewards in God’s kingdom.
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The Faith and Generosity in China Initiative (FGICI) was born out of the realization that Christians in China are increasingly well resourced, both materially and in terms of their position and influence in society. Yet the Chinese church has historically lacked a theology of stewardship that can help China’s Christians understand how to faithfully utilize the resources God has placed into their hands. Whether they be parents, entrepreneurs, pastors, community leaders, or philanthropists, today’s Chinese Christians have an unprecedented opportunity to shepherd their relationships, financial resources, and influence in ways that can bring significant change in their society. This means viewing these resources differently from the rest of society, seeing them not as means to personal ends but rather as a trust from God to be used for his glory.
A collaborative effort among several partnering organizations, the FGICI is equipping believers for lives of biblical generosity through a robust social media platform, the publication of several key resources in Chinese, and the development of a core group of trainers who will be able to multiply generosity and stewardship teaching through other leaders.
In addition, the initiative seeks to raise awareness among those serving China regarding the need for such teaching. For more on the thinking behind the initiative from both Chinese and non-Chinese perspectives, please see the 2015 autumn issue of ChinaSource Quarterly, guest edited by former ChinaSource board chair Dr. Scott Rodin.
In order to ensure that content regarding faith and generosity effectively reaches China’s Christians, we have engaged a local partner who distributes this content through the most popular digital/social media channels in China, as well as collates existing content online that pertains to this topic and shares it with relevant audiences.
In May 2015, our faith and generosity content was launched on three social media platforms in China under the account name, 忠心好管家 (The Good and Faithful Steward): a blog on Sina, a microblog on Weibo , and on WeChat. After only having been in operation for a little over seven months, the results have been staggering with content having received 335,590 views, an average of almost 45,000 views per month across all platforms.
On WeChat alone, the content is being read on average over 31,000 times each month with more than 4,200 followers to the account. As a point of comparison, a popular Christian worship account, 爱敬拜iworship, took almost three years to cross the 2,700-follower mark. It is commonly said that in a game of numbers, China always wins, but given the nature of the content, the results are showing that there truly is a sincere hunger for knowledge in this area.
The Sower, a book on biblical fund raising, has already been translated and published, and is available in China. Two more books, The Steward Leader and Christ-Centered Generosity, are slated for release in 2016. Plans also call for a workbook for small group studies on living as God’s stewards, as well as online courses for those wanting to go deeper. Meanwhile, a group of pastor-trainers is developing a series of sermon outlines that will aid Chinese pastors in delivering biblically based stewardship messages to their congregations.
News and Notes
- Brent Fulton was quoted in a recent article in Christianity Today on China’s massive missionary sending movement.
- Brent Fulton participated this month in the annual conference of China Partnership, a consortium of US churches engaged in China that is celebrating its 15th anniversary.
- “The Intellectual and Ethical Foundations of the Flourishing Society,” a seminar for Chinese pastors, academics, and business people, is being hosted by ChinaSource and the Acton Institute at the end of January. Brent Fulton will speak on “The Shifting Battleground” of China’s church.
- The ChinaSource Institute will be launched in 2016 to prepare Christian workers for short-and long-term service in China by providing online orientation courses. Joann Pittman and ChinaSource contributor Amy Young (seen below) filmed the first online training course, “China: Serving Well Where You Don’t Belong” in Minnesota this month. The course is currently in post-production and will go live in March.
Ways to Pray
- Pray for the Lord’s hand to be upon the preparation of online lectures for the ChinaSource Institute.
- Continue to remember China’s leaders as they make decisions affecting how government deals with the church in China in the future.
- Join us in thanking God that official permission has been granted to publish the Chinese translation of The Steward Leader by Dr. Scott Rodin, former chair of the ChinaSource board. Please lift up the production and marketing of this book in China.
- Pray for “The Intellectual and Ethical Foundations of a Flourishing Society” to be instrumental in equipping Chinese Christian leaders to glorify God in all areas of life.
Image credit: strange fruit by PROhectorhannibal via Flickr.
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