In May of this year, ChinaSource attended the Reformation 500 and the Gospel conference organized by China Partnership. The three-and-a-half day conference in Hong Kong brought together over 3,700 believers (over 3,000 from China) to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Along with hearing from international and mainland Chinese pastors, we interviewed several Chinese attendees to learn more about what drew them to the conference, their take on the current state of the Chinese church, and to hear their impressions of the conference.
We’ve selected excerpts of those interviews showing different perspectives on current church life in China. This week a brother from a reforming church in Shenzhen testifies to faith and reliance on God and a returnee from Chengdu talks about the need for mentoring and adjusting to church in China.
Excerpts from conversations with mainland attendees of the Reformation 500 and the Gospel conference held in Hong Kong in May 2017.
Surveying China’s extraordinary rise over the past decade, Graham Allison, in his book Destined for War, paraphrases former Czech President Vaclav Havel when he says, “It has happened so quickly, we have not yet had time to be astonished.”
A remarkable church building project in Ningbo, China.
A fundamental question for Christians in China—who will lead the Chinese church of the future.
The 2015 Survey on the Current Situation and Future Prospects for the Church in China, undertaken by the China Gospel Research Alliance, indicated that pastoring the next generation is a priority for Christian leaders in China. The needs of youth in China are great and the church in China must reach and minister to them or risk losing the next generation of believers—which will not just be the loss of individual believers but also the potential loss of Christian families and church leaders.
Christians in China today are able to share relatively easily about ministry on social media. Pastors’ personal blogs are one unique vantage point into church life in China. In this article, Chen Fengsheng, a Three-Self pastor in Wenzhou, provides budding pastors with timely advice on how to prepare for a healthy pastoral ministry. He gives “twenty realities” of ministry life that will help set up fresh seminary graduates for the pastorate.
The author sees two major categories of urban churches in China that are experiencing transformation and goes on to discuss three main areas where he sees this transformation taking place. Viewing these changes as positive, he also believes they are growing stronger.
After defining “new media” and what it encompasses, An looks at the various ways the church in China views it, what it means for the church, and how it can affect the church. He then gives some thoughts on how the church should deal with it—not only the challenges it brings, but how it can be used positively.
Pastor Cui shares how his church has dealt with a growing congregation and the need for room by adopting a “big church, small congregations” model. He explains this concept and details the benefits this model has brought to the church, the pastors, and the congregations.
An interview by Dr. Mary Ma with the minister of a migrant worker’s urban church which identifies a number of issues characteristic of urban churches comprised of migrant workers from rural areas. These concerns include living conditions, economic status, long work hours, mobility, and other factors that all contribute to the church’s spiritual health and stability.
China’s Urban Christians: A Light that Cannot Be Hidden by Brent Fulton
Reviewed by Li Jin
Due to urbanization and social change, China’s churches look different today than they did a number of years ago. Urban churches, with unusual diversity, now comprise a major part of Chinese Christianity. Fulton identifies many of the changes the church has experienced that now characterize it and discusses challenges it faces in current society.
We caught up with our friend Jackson Wu at the Reformation 500 conference in Hong Kong and asked him to share his reflections on the conference.
Singing together with 3000 believers—The Church's One Foundation!
Do Chinese parents and pastors need to rethink how they raise their youth in the faith? In this article, originally posted on at Gospel Times, a pastor encourages believers to challenge traditional views of ministry to youth. The pastor sketches modern challenges to youth ministry and then offers practical recommendations for ministry workers.
Chinese Christians have traditionally expected their pastors to live frugally and to receive little to no compensation for their pastoral duties. It was expected that those in the ministry would endure much suffering as a result of their call to ministry. As a result, some pastors and ministry staff live on quite meager means and many are bi-vocational in order to make ends meet.
As China modernizes, many congregations, particularly urban churches, recognize a need to better financially care for their pastors, as well as to invest in the well-being of the congregation as a whole. Congregations are starting to see the health of a church improve when the entire body is spiritually and financially committed to compensating their ministry staff. So, how much should a pastor in China make?
Pastoral ministry is typically not a desired vocation among Chinese Christians. Although pastors in China are revered for their rich spiritual gifts and selfless service to the church, pastoral ministry itself is poor, lonely, and draining. In this article from Green Olive Books, the author, a layperson, highlights the difficulties of being a pastor in China, as well as the need for Chinese Christians to better support their pastors.
China Christian Daily recently posted a list of the most popular news stories from the China Christian Times. Some may be surprising.
Theological books and resources from the West are widely available in China today and have become increasingly popular. What the Chinese church lacks, however, are books written by Chinese pastors and theologians. In the article below, originally published in Gospel Times, a pastor gives his thoughts on why Chinese pastors don’t write books.
If you happen to find yourself in Beijing this Christmas, be sure to stop by the Haidian Christian Church to see the Christmas Tree in the square in front of the church. This is a report from Gospel Times about the lighting of the tree.
Because of the growing popularity of Christmas in China, this season provides individual Christians and churches numerous opportunities for outreach. In this article, originally posted on at Gospel Times, a pastor reminds believers of the need to make room in their hearts for Christ as they prepare for Christmas.
As China has become more prosperous, it has also become more open to outside influences. This is true of the church as well. In recent years prosperity theology has been gaining influence, mainly through the translated books and resources of Joyce Meyer and Joel Osteen. In this article, originally published in the Gospel Times, the author (a pastor) reflects on why this teaching is attractive to many in China.
An article from the Gospel Times in which a pastor reflects on what it means to be a pastor, particularly in a society that knows and understands little about the profession.
Last week we posted the first part of an interview with a rural pastor that was published on the mainland site Christian Times. The topic of the conversation was models for training in rural churches. This week we post the rest of the interview.
An editor from Christian Times recently had an extended conversation with a rural pastor (born in the 1980s) about his thoughts regarding the current situation of China’s rural church. They talked about the problems and potential, particularly as they relate to the need for training. What follows is a translation of the article. Due to the length of the article, we will publish it in two parts. This is part one.
As China has urbanized the challenges facing the church increasingly mirror those in other urban societies.
The Gospel Times recently published an article written by a pastor in Xiamen on what he considers to be some of the key challenges facing the church in China today. Here is a translation of the article.
Churches in China are increasingly looking for ways to use the internet to evangelize and encourage believers. This article, originally published in the mainland site Gospel Times is about a church in Liaoning province that posts daily video devotionals online to one of China’s largest video-sharing sites.
In March China Christian Daily published an interview with a pastor from Dalian about the importance of properly managing church finances in Chinese churches. He highlights some of the difficulties that churches in China have in this area and some suggestions for improvement.
The China Partnership website recently carried the story of an urban pastor who planted 16 churches in a major Chinese city. The article profiles the transformation in this pastor’s thinking concerning the nature and purpose of the church.
Pastors in China share how they are encouraging their people to prepare for Easter.
A ChinaSource "3 Questions" interview with Dr. G. Wright Doyle, director of Global China Center, editor of Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Christianity, and co-editor of Studies in Chinese Christianity, published by Wipf and Stock.
The exhortation of a pastor in China to "Build a church without walls."
It is easy to think of the China Inland Mission era as being in the distant past. This article, translated from the mainland site Christian Times reminds us that it is not as far away as we thought.
For this post, we have translated a sermon given by Pastor Wang Yi, of Early Rain Reformed Church, one of the prominent house churches in Chengdu, Sichuan Province. In it, Pastor Wang reflects on what it means to build a church.
In this week’s Chinese Church Voices, we republish a post from the excellent China Partnership Blog. Last autumn China Partnership held a conference in Atlanta, centered on the topic “The Church in a Global-Local World.” Many of the speakers at the conference were church leaders from China. One of them gave a talk titled “The State of Chinese Urban Churches.” The speaker looks at the situation from three different perspectives: the Chinese value system, the political system, and the expansion of Christianity. China Partnership originally published it on their blog in February. It is reposted here in full, with permission.
Most Three-Self churches in China conduct baptism services on Easter Sunday each year. In this translated article from the Gospel Times, the writer shares questions that the pastors at two large churches in China ask of each person being baptized.
Due to the so-called “Church and Cross Demolition” campaign, the churches of Zhejiang Province have been in the news a lot over the past year. Whether on TV, online, or in our local newspapers, we have probably all seen heart-breaking pictures of demolished churches and crosses.
While many would applaud the church’s “post-denominational” character as evidence of the unity of the church in China, others today are asking whether a return to denominations is not only inevitable but should, in fact, be welcomed.
On March 4, 2015, the OMF Global China Newsletter posted an article titled "Challenges for the Church in China." In it the author highlights four key challenges.
With a plethora of Christian leader development programs on offer in China, it is difficult to know which are appropriate, not to mention which will ultimately prove effective.
Churches in China (both registered and unregistered) are taking advantage of the popularity of Christmas to teach people about the true meaning of the festival.
In July, I wrote a post titled "Ten Lessons from the Church in China" in which I highlighted ten responses by foreign Christians in China to the question "what specific lessons can the church in the West learn from the church in China?"
In recent years Calvinism has become an increasingly common topic of discussion within Chinese Christian circles. This trend has not gone unnoticed, and many scholars of Christianity in China are working to document and understand the growth of Reformed Christianity within the mainland.
Chinese Church Voices is running a series of articles taken from a lengthy interview with a Reformed unregistered church pastor in China. The fact that the Christian website in China where the interview originated gave the topic such in-depth attention, and the fact that this particular pastor (and many others like him) are such strong advocates of Reformed theology, raise the question of why denominations have become so attractive to Christians in China.
Reformed theology has found fertile ground in China, particularly among urban unregistered churches.
Reformed theology has found fertile ground in China, particularly among urban unregistered churches.
In August, the Christian Times published a two-part interview with a pastor from a Reformed church in China. We have translated and divided that interview into three sections. In this section (our Part 3) “Pastor Daniel” discusses the importance of attitude in preaching Reformed doctrine, specific lessons learned, and how it has impacted renewal in many urban churches in China.
This is the second part of an interview with a Reformed church pastor that was originally published in the Christian Times.
The BBC article "The Chinese cult that kills 'demons'" prompted a reader to ask recently, "Have you heard of this cult?"