Sunday, September 09, 2007

Chinese Christian Growth and Missionary Vision

Check out this interesting article in the Asia Times about the growth of Christianity in China. Pay special attention to what it says towards the bottom about the Back to Jerusalem movement, and the vision of Chinese believers for taking the gospel to the unreached Muslim peoples of the 10-40 Window.


Debbie Kaufman said...

The fact that ten thousand Chinese become Christians each day us absolutely astounding and wonderful. It also shows that God doesn't use just Americans to carry out the Great Commission. Praise God for what He is doing and has been doing for many years in China.

Anonymous said...

First, thank you for providing this link. I wouldn't have read it otherwise, so I'm incredibly grateful that you decided to post it. My throat was so tight that I could barely swallow while reading. Thank you.

I do have a question that relates to this post and your post from sbcimpact (another moving post). I guess it’s also a plea for counsel. Although I’m using my own context, I’ll try to be general enough for you to address it here. But if you would rather me shoot you an email, I would be happy to go that way as well. I know that you don’t have all the time in the world, so if you’re too busy at this point, please trust that I won’t be offended.

With all of that said, last year, my wife and I met with the regional consultant from our home state expressing a desire for the Arab Muslim world. After that meeting, we began to pray specifically that God would bring an Arab Muslim into our lives while we remained in the states. Long and incredible story short, we met Mohammad just over a week later and have been building that relationship ever since (it has even expanded to other Arab international students). He is from a difficult country to say the least. I consider him my Arab brother and we both refer to each other that way. The walls between our two cultures don't seem so big when you're drinking tea. My time with him has brought overwhelming joy.

I guess with what seemed to be an unbelievable confirmation in terms of direction for my wife and me, your post on sbcimpact (the shifting role of the West) and the rising Chinese "BTJ" movement has given me reason to pause. I'm wondering if my role isn't as much of a church planter as I once thought. Also, I was profoundly shaken a few years ago by KP Yohannan’s call for Christians in the west to assume a completely supportive role. In his book, Revolution in World Missions, he offered some very challenging points that muddied the waters in terms of discerning my own missionary call (also another interesting post of your’s).

I guess for my own benefit, and hopefully to the benefit of others, I’m interested to get some of your thoughts specific to the American church’s role in Muslim evangelization overseas. To put it simply, should I be looking for another job? :) I have a million other thoughts running through my head, but I’ll just request your general thoughts on the Arab context.

Thanks so much, Mr. Rogers. Blessings.

Anonymous said...

sorry, last comment was from Patrick

David Rogers said...


First of all, thank you very much for your comment. I really appreciate your heart to seek after God, and his will for your life.

I would never want to tell somebody else what God's call for their life was. Yes, there are objective factors that should be taken into consideration. And, as I have written on another post somewhere, I believe the experience of God's call in our lives can be, and often is, received both through our "right brain" and our "left brain". So, you do well to research and think things through, and not just leave it up to some mystical sense of what you feel the Holy Spirit to be telling you.

Next, I want to assure you and anyone else who may read this that I definitely think there is still room for many, many more long-term missionaries from North America, even in places as difficult as the Muslim world. And, if we are really serious about obeying the Great Commission, that will usually imply being involved in one way or another in what we normally call "church planting".

I do think the IMB leadership is on target in the emphasis in recent years on a shift in the main role of the American missionary as a "hands-on church planter" to a "facilitator of church planting movements." Of course, it is hard to teach others what we ourselves have not yet done, or are unwilling to do, though. So, it is good to also be involved in "hands-on church planting" as well.

Perhaps the main point I am trying to make on the SBC Impact post, and which you rightly read into here as well, has to do with our attitude, whether we go as career missionaries, on short-term volunteer teams, or stay home and "hold the ropes." In all three cases, we will be much more effective if a spirit of humility and servanthood permeates everything we do.

Wolfgang Simson, when asked, in a conference on Church Planting Movements, "What is the best thing we as North American missionaries can do to help further along a CPM?", replied, "Find a national believer who is on fire for God, and pour gasoline on their fire."

Although I don't necessarily buy into everything Simson has to say, I think that quote is pure gold. Notice that he doesn't say, "Just stay home and send your money." Yes, that is one way to "pour gasoline on their fire." But, I believe God still has very strategic roles for us as long-term "m's" among the unreached of the world.

Also, if you already have this heart, to be a humble servant, and work side by side with the national believers, you are a long way towards being an effective cross-cultural worker.

I pray God will continue to lead you and confirm his call in your life, as you continue to ask for his guidance, and obey him step by step in the meantime.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Rogers,

Your counsel is of the highest value to me. Thank you for taking the time to respond!