China: Growth, challenges and opportunities for the Church in one of the world’s oldest civilizations

Christian missionaries from Syria visited China as early as 781 AD but, historically, the nation has had a small Christian population. This has been changing in the past couple of centuries.

China crowd
Christianity now is believed to be the fastest-growing faith in China, with tens of millions of Christians despite repression from government officials (they still are a minority in this massive nation of more than 1.3 billion people).

  
Reflective of the Body of Christ in China as a whole, the DNA network in China is small but vibrant and growing.

“Right now, in past 30 years,” says our key contact in China, “China has been going through a dramatic change in everything, urbanization, economic development. So [the] Chinese Church is facing a rapid change that no one else might have faced in history.”

He says that in most provinces, Christians have not needed to hide their faith in the past 30 years or so, even though some in the local government might still see them as being influenced by Westerners.

“I believe it is purely God’s work in the past half century,” he says.

The Church in China is driven largely by lay-believers, making it spontaneous, dynamic and prone to some internal conflict, particularly surrounding church buildings, programs and missions. Children’s Sunday-school education seems to be going very well overall. The Chinese Church in general lacks depth of faith and mature leadership–two things the global Church can be praying for and that the local DNA network is working to help improve.

Serving others

God’s very nature is that of a servant, a message often taught by DNA co-founder Bob Moffitt and one that the local DNA network in China is helping believers to realize. “We are combining Seed Projects with storytelling,” says the DNA’s key contact. “It is working well now … we are teaching this combined approach to various ministry leaders.”

Earlier this year, this key contact’s own local church did two Seed Projects, both relating to weddings and marriage.

Cathedral in China
St. Joseph’s Church, commonly known as Wangfujing Church or Dongtang, was completed in 1655 by Jesuit missionaries. In the 1950s, it was expropriated to the communist government and turned into an elementary school. Today, it is under the control of the government-created Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (its priests are not recognized by the Vatican) and is a popular tourist destination.

  
In one instance, a woman in the church had an unbelieving son who was about to get married. He and his fiancee wanted to wed in a “historical, church” location and chose a Catholic church building that also is a tourist attraction in downtown Beijing. The wedding was to be large–more than 250 guests–and the couple needed help making it happen. “It was quite a new thing for our church to think about how to participate in such a wedding: It was not in a church facility and there were so many nonbelievers,” says the key contact. After much prayer, the pastor led about 40 church members to join in the celebration. They prayed throughout the process and worked hard to put together all the details. “Finally, the wedding was a very big success: not only to accomplish all the items on program, but also to bear a wonderful witness to the relatives who were totally new to Christianity.  Our church also learned a new way of ministry through a step of faith beyond where we were.”

The second Seed Project demonstrates the beauty that can result when believers humbly submit to one another, confess their sins and seek the Lord together. In this same church were two newly baptized believers who, though unmarried, were living together. This is no big deal to most people in China but, because of God’s design for sex and marriage, many Chinese churches refuse to marry couples who admit to premarital sex.

After being baptized, the couple decided to have a formal marriage and asked for their church to facilitate it. Being quite surprised, the church leaders talked with the couple about God’s design for purity in marriage. The couple repented in front of the entire church and, after some time, the church decided to host their wedding. At the wedding, while preaching on God’s plans for marriage, the preacher courageously confessed to the whole room his own sin of premarital sex (before he and his wife became Christians).

“All the friends from that couple (colleagues, family members, etc.) were able to learn about God’s heart on marriage from this wedding,” says the key contact. “The church learned to be obedient to God instead of to tradition in this process.”

The Church in China also is generous, as seen in its response to the Nepal earthquakes earlier this year. Dozens of churches gathered to discuss stewardship of resources. Tens of thousands of Chinese yuan were donated and sent to Nepal through the DNA and other agencies.

Pray for China

Please pray for China

Our key contact in China has asked specifically for prayer in these two ways:

  1. Pray for the stability and health of marriage and family in China. The divorce rate is increasing every year. It is more serious in the cities than in the rural area. It results in many problems such as the increase of homosexual issue, etc., among the young generation.
  2. Pray for the leaders of the churches to be sensitive to the needs in society and inside the church. Pray for the leaders as well in their own marriage and family.

  
To connect with the DNA local network in China, email info@disciplenations.org.

3 Comments to “China: Growth, challenges and opportunities for the Church in one of the world’s oldest civilizations”

  1. Christphe Horimbere

    I wish to be one of the prayer warriors for China Marriage and Church leaders.

    May the Lord promote DNA and its program in China and entire the world.

    Reply
  2. Monica Muthamia

    Would want to pray for China

    Reply

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