If you haven’t had the chance to read the autumn issue of ChinaSource Quarterly entitled “Digital Engagement,” published October 9, 2023, I want to encourage you to set aside some time, settle in, and read this compelling issue cover to cover. Guest editors Andrew Feng and Nick Wu have compiled a rich mix of articles explaining why it is so important for Christ followers to not only stay updated on digital ministry strategies, but also how to be involved in a vital, global ministry that is bearing fruit that remains.
Andrew and Nick invited seasoned contributors to share their experience and models for holistic digital disciple making. I was struck by their passion and their warm welcome to any who want to be involved because they see how “digital engagement is making the gospel available and accessible to anyone, anytime, anywhere.” (See Andrew Feng and Nick Wu’s editorial, “Keeping Pace in Our Digital Age”). Very practical resources have also been included.
While it is pointed out that digital evangelism and discipleship is not for everyone, it is also clear that there are no shortcuts, and the way ahead is difficult even for those who are called. Sean Cheng writes: “Internet evangelism is an extremely difficult endeavor. One has to have a true calling to become involved and not every Christian is called to do internet evangelism and apologetics. In this digital age, practicing self-control is an important spiritual discipline for Christians. Therefore, to be able to do internet evangelism, Christians must grow in spiritual discipline and bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit if they desire to contribute in this way.” (Read “Using New Media for Digital Evangelism on Chinese Cyberspace” for more).
Reaching the Next Generation
Reaching the next generation is not an area of focus and concern that is limited to the church in China. The global church is also very aware of the need, calling, and obstacles involved in raising up youth who are passionate in their commitment to Jesus Christ and missionally called. In their article, “The Need for Innovation and Digital Transformation,” Andrew Feng and Nick Wu, speak powerfully to the reality that, “by redeeming technology, Christians can redefine their engagement in the Great Commission and empower the discipleship of the next generation to carry global missions forward” at a time when “the internet has reached 5.1 billion people, and 65 percent of global internet users are in North Africa, Central Asia, East Asia, and Southeast Asia. In China alone there are 1.05 billion internet users, including 1.03 billion social media users. This means a majority of internet users are in regions that overlap with the 10/40 Window which the missions world has deemed the highest priority for mission work.”
So Much More
There is not enough space here to represent the variety of ways Andrew and Nick and their contributors have represented the kingdom vitality of God’s calling to the nations and certainly the church in China and the diaspora. The articles presenting various digital engagement models reveal kingdom invested thinkers and innovators, committed to Jesus Christ and his Great Commission, addressing how to represent the holistic nature of what it means to follow Jesus and to lead others to do the same; all in the context of Christian community, which is a dynamic many never dreamt could be realized virtually. And they top it all off by providing resources, and by offering help to any who want to get involved. Thanks so much to Andrew, Nick, and everyone who contributed!
A Special Introduction
Please be sure to join us in this space next month as we will have the joy of introducing our new ChinaSource Content Manager, Andrea Lee, to you. We are very grateful the Lord led Andrea to team with us, and you will understand why once you know more about her. See you in November!
News and Notes
ChinaSource Quarterly, 2023 Autumn Issue
Digital Engagement, guest editors Andrew Feng and Nick Wu
For the most recent issue of ChinaSource Quarterly, we invited experienced internet evangelists to contribute their reflections on the way that online spaces have changed over the last several decades, the advantages and challenges of redeeming the internet for the gospel, and the ways that Chinese government regulations have forced them to get creative. Guest editors Andrew Feng and Nick Wu put together a top-notch line-up of contributors.
Sean Cheng has been doing gospel work online for 28 years, and he gives us insight into the changes that have come during that time, as well as the necessity of having a true calling to do online evangelism.
Luke Cheng describes the development of Liangyou Theological Seminary, which has a fully online training course.
Chinese intellectuals who study and work in the US are often highly mobile, and Tsun-En Lu tells us about a new online platform which aims to keep them connected to faith communities, despite their many moves.
Travis Todd of Cru is working to bring Jesus to as many people as possible using online platforms, even though that means playing a constant game of cat-and-mouse as authorities shut down accounts.
The editors review Sharing Jesus Online, a new book detailing how any Christian can begin to do digital evangelism.
Finally, Justin Sooter gives a run-down of the GodTools app, a new platform in over 100 languages with sharable, contextualized resources for people to learn how to have gospel conversations with friends and family.
“Digital Engagement” is full of deep insights, thoughtful questions, fascinating history, and practical tools. You won’t want to miss this comprehensive look at how Christians can use digital tools to advance God’s kingdom.
ChinaSource Team News
- On November 1, Joann Pittman will facilitate an online book club discussion for ERRChina/CAC. The book is The Importance of Living, by Lin Yutang. Written in 1937, “Yutang’s prescription is the classic Chinese philosophy of life: Revere inaction as much as action, invoke humor to maintain a healthy attitude and never forget that there will always be plenty of fools around who are willing—indeed, eager—to be busy, to make themselves useful, and to exercise power while you bask in the simple joy of existence.” (Amazon description)
Register here to join the discussion on November 1, 2023 at 7pm (US CDT).
- Kerry Schotttelkorb preached at La Habra Hills Presbyterian Church in La Habra Hills, CA on September 24.
- On September 10, Kerry Schottelkorb preached at Home of Christ Church in Newark, CA.
Ways to Pray
- Praise the Lord for the called and gifted men and women who are leading the way in making the gospel available and accessible in this digital age! See ChinaSource Quarterly, Autumn 2023 “Digital Engagement,”guest edited by Andrew Feng and Nick Wu.
- Praise the Lord for the ministry of Ambassadors for Christ, which is helping “Christian leaders to rethink the role of the local church, parachurch, and the use of digital platforms and media.” See “Engaging the Highly Mobile Generation of Chinese Intellectuals,”by Tsu-En Lu.
- Praise the Lord for forty years of theological training provided by Liangyou Theological Seminary, a training program first developed by the Far East Broadcasting Company (FEBC). For more, check out “Online Theological Training: Forty Years of Growth of Liangyou Theological Seminary,”by Luke Cheng.
- Pray that the Lord will quicken “innovation and digital transformation…for the advancement of the gospel in this technically driven world.” Read Andrew Feng and Nick Wu’s lead article, “The Need for Innovation and Transformation.”
- Join Sean Cheng in praying that a growing number of Chinese Christ followers who use the internet would become “intentionally involved in internet evangelism….so that, by God’s grace, we will continue to carry out the Great Commission on the Chinese internet.” Read his article, “Using New Media for Digital Evangelism on Chinese Cyberspace,” for more details.
- Pray with Travis Todd and his team that they will continue “to put Jesus in front of as many people as possible… to let them hear the gospel so they have an opportunity to respond to it” by spreading their content “across many channels.” See “Breaking Through the Great Wall,”by Travis Todd.
In Case You Missed It
A selection of recently published items:
- Hearing from the Church in China, Part 2, ChinaSource Blog, October 16.
- Hearing from the Church in China, Part 1, ChinaSource Blog, October 13.
- ZGBriefs, October 12.
- Faith Tested, Faith Strengthened, ChinaSource Blog (CCV), October 11.
- Transformative Relationships, ChinaSource Blog, October 09.
- Christian Evangelism in the Digital Age, ChinaSource Blog, October 06.
- ZGBriefs, October 05.
- God at Work During 3 Years of Isolation, ChinaSource Blog, October 04.
- Who Am I, ChinaSource Blog, October 02.
- Instrumentalizing the Church in China, ChinaSource Blog, September 29.
- ZGBriefs, September 28.
- Unveiling the Crisis of Chinese Youth, ChinaSource Blog, September 27.
- From Despair to Hope, ChinaSource Blog, September 25.
- How Should We Care for Orphans in China?, ChinaSource Blog, September 22.
- ZGBriefs, September 21.
Are you enjoying a cup of good coffee or fragrant tea while reading the latest ChinaSource post? Consider donating the cost of that “cuppa” to support our content so we can continue to serve you with the latest on Christianity in China.