The Context of our Work
China is a diverse and dynamic nation, both inside the church and as a whole.
Conservative estimates of Christianity in China range from 3 to 7 percent of the population. This deceptively small figure represents an astounding 40 to 90 million of China’s 1.3 billion people. Other sources estimate the Chinese Christian population to exceed 130 million (“Sons of heaven”, The Economist, Oct. 2, 2008)—that’s nearly half the population of the entire United States!
The Chinese church is founded on miraculous works of the Holy Spirit, the humble and sacrificial faith of persecuted and disparaged believers, the revelation of Jesus to the culture, and the mercy and purposes of God for his kingdom in China through its past, present and future.
Similarly, China is a nation facing many pressures and challenges, not the least of which is the sheer pace of change – economically, culturally and socially. Environmental problems, widening income disparity, political tensions, corruption, public health threats, and unemployment (to name a few) are powerful forces plaguing the nation. Yet China’s people are eager to adapt and fully embrace their new place in the world. For a selection of sites tracking the state of China, check out the links below:
We can’t provide a full account of the history and current forms of the Chinese church – official and underground, urban and rural, but we recommend the following sources for more up to date information on the state of China and the Chinese church:
http://www.zgbriefs.com/ provides a curated list of articles about China and the Chinese church each and every week. Sign up for their newsletter if you’re interested in receiving weekly updates about the latest China news.
Christianity Today provides current news relating to Christianity in China.
China Today is a China-published overview of general China information.
China Daily is a Chinese state-run newspaper with China news.
Chsource.org also provides a wealth of news options.
The Chinese Church
As Chinese society changes and as we ourselves grow, we are better understanding our role as outsiders ministering to the culture, especially the significance of using our work to serve the local church that God himself has raised up.
What God has done in the Chinese church is a story of miracle upon miracle, charged by the faith of people tested under great pressure and persecution, which continues to this day. From mega-cities to the poorest villages, in schools and in the government, Chinese Christians are transforming their nation, having themselves been birthed by a movement of the Holy Spirit so bright that we should be called blind if we were to ignore – or worse, avoid – its light. The Chinese church is far from perfect, but it is His beloved bride worthy of our attention, devotion and rejoicing. If you are interested in learning more about the Chinese church, we recommend the following books:
Aikman, David. Jesus in Beijing: How Christianity Is Transforming China and Changing the Global Balance of Power.Reginary Publishing, Inc. September 1, 2003.
Yun, Brother and Hattaway, Paul. The Heavenly Man Hendrickson Publishers Marketing, LLC. Oct 1, 2009.
Learn more about China
Looking for ways to prepare your heart to serve in China? Check out these resources that come highly recommended by our current staff members!
– Edge of the Map by Pilgrim Tyne
A book about one family’s process in discerning a calling to serve abroad and a bio of their first year on the field.
– Mountain Rain by James Fraser (biography)
– The Liberating Gospel in China. A book about the history of multi-denominational outreach to minority groups in China.
– Snow Lion and the Dragon
A short look at the history of identity and conflict in Tibet.
– Two Kinds of Time
A longer history book about a Westerner who stayed in China during WWII and reflected on the opposing paradigms of how the Chinese view time: backward looking (to history) and the forward looking (to communism)
– “The Cross in China”
4 hour long video segments about the self history of the House Church. Free on youtube.
Urbana Video: http://vimeo.com/56505532
– Streetfood – A fun glimpse of street food and life in China. www.youtube.com/cdzadek