Returnees and the Church in China

Returnees Committing to Church in China: I wonder what excites us most about the prospect of brothers and sisters returning to China:

  • How wonderful to have this godly man heading up a hospital, refusing underhanded deals with pharmaceutical companies.
  • How strategic to have this winsome sister working as a university lecturer; just think about the kind of impact she could have on a whole generation of students!

Yes, such inspiring thoughts spur us on in serving our Chinese friends from overseas and yet how individualistic is this perspective? Indeed, perhaps we do stress the importance of church but to what extent is this merely pragmatic? Without a supportive church community, how else will our friends stand firm in such a challenging context? No, this is something far more significant for church is right at the heart of God’s eternal plan. (Ephesians 3:10)
http://www.chinasource.org/resource-library/blog-entries/returnees-and-the-church-in-china

Is the Church a leisure club or a mission training school?

Two years ago a fellow pastor from China came to America for further theological study. He sadly admitted ‘If I’m honest, I am afraid and reluctant to receive hai-gui (those returning to China). They constantly extol the good points of the churches overseas and say that those churches are hugely superior to churches in China. Many of these self-confessed Christian believers have never offered themselves for baptism, or, if they have, what does their confession of faith really add up to? How can true confession and profession of faith really exist, without real commitment? In China, coming to faith in Christ means acceptance of costly commitment!
https://thrivingturtles.org/2018/08/07/is-church-a-leisure-club-or-a-mission-training-school/

What is Christianity in China Really Like?

The goal of understanding what China is really like must be tempered. Or at least approached in a way that allows for ambiguity and recognizes the enigma of the subject. Toward that goal and in that spirit, here are five things helpful to understand about the church landscape in China.
https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/what-christianity-in-china-is-really-like/

The Church in China – An Introduction

A common misunderstanding by many Chinese today is that Christianity only came to China very recently. In actual fact the first documented arrival of the Christian faith to China is during the Tang dynasty in 635AD. This article is intended to be a brief introduction to the church in China for Chinese who have become Christians while overseas and want to understand something about the church in China before returning there. The article is available in English and Chinese.
https://thrivingturtles.org/2017/02/09/the-church-in-china-an-introduction/

One in a Billion Video – Shepherd

Andrew is a pastor in a House Church in China. In this video he shares about his life and ministry and what it’s like to be a pastor in China.
https://omf.org/blog/2017/09/29/one-billion-shepherd/

The Church in China today – online course

“The church in China? Isn’t Christianity illegal there?” Maybe this has been your reaction to hearing about the church in China or maybe you’ve heard others react this way. As with many things in China, the answer is ‘yes and no’ but the part that is an absolute ‘yes’ is that Christianity in China is growing. Whether you’re simply interested in China or looking to serve there, this course will provide you with excellent foundational knowledge on the church in China today. The lectures are conducted by Dr. Brent Fulton, author of China’s Urban Christians: A Light That Cannot Be Hidden.
https://www.udemy.com/the-church-in-china-today/?ccManual=&couponCode=CHINACHURCH

Thriving Turtles Training – Cross-cultural Training for Intercultural Discipleship

Currently most courses in cross-cultural ministry are only offered during semester times when the campus workers are busy with ministry. Thriving Turtles Training is a new initiative to equip front-line gospel workers with the knowledge and skills they need to be effective cross-cultural gospel ministers. Thriving Turtles Training offers short modular courses at the end of the summer holidays each year. The next course is 28 January – 8th February 2019.
https://thrivingturtles.org/onlinetraining/

What does it take for returnees to thrive – Part 3

In Part One of this series, we considered the importance of discipling Chinese students as Chinese believers who are prepared to live in a Chinese context (contextualized discipleship).  In Part Two, we discussed the need for pre-return training to prepare returnees for the issues they will face when they are home.  In this third part we will focus on how to help returnees settle in a church or fellowship where they can serve and be supported in their daily Christian walk. Continue reading “What does it take for returnees to thrive – Part 3”

Is Church a leisure club or a mission training school?

是俱樂部,還是宣教學院?(董家驊)2017.09.18

Link to Chinese article: 中文: http://behold.oc.org/?p=34504

Author: Pastor Dong Jia-Hua

Translation of article in “Behold” magazine by Keith Ranger

He says – “I recently attended a Conference of workers from a number of different places in North America on how to do lasting and effective evangelistic ministry in the lives of international students, especially in the area of being up to date and not behind the times in reaching out to those from China. The expressed need was for relevant and engaging methodology and really making an effort to keep up to date with ‘where these people are now coming from’ in terms of their expectations and priorities. Things can, and do, change so fast! We cannot, and must not, live in the past!

Continue reading “Is Church a leisure club or a mission training school?”

What does it take for Returnees to Thrive – Part 2

In part one of this series we considered the importance of discipling Chinese students as Chinese believers who are prepared to live in a Chinese context (contextualized discipleship).  In this second part we consider the need for pre-return training to prepare returnees for the issues they will face on returning home.  Experience has shown that there are four key topics that need to be addressed:

Continue reading “What does it take for Returnees to Thrive – Part 2”

A call to Partnership in Chinese Returnee Ministry

In September 2016 the China Source Quarterly Journal was devoted to the issue of helping Chinese Returnees thrive as Christians after returning to China.

Living in another country can be a life-changing experience. The longer the stay and the greater the immersion into that country’s social life, the deeper and more lasting the effects. Adapting to the new culture, making foreign friends, learning a new set of behaviors, and speaking in a foreign language shape the identity and values of sojourners in ways that can never be undone.

The changes that overseas sojourners experience may go beyond the necessary adaptation to a new language and culture; for many, the experience creates an openness to new ideas, new values, and even a new way of understanding life.

When the time finally comes to return home, the newly-arriving returnees often discover that the behaviors, identity, tastes, and values they acquired overseas do not transfer easily into the home culture. Many of the changes they experienced, including some that are highly valued, must now be reversed for the sake of fitting in.

Now what if, among the many changes experienced in a foreign land, some of the sojourners have converted to the Christian faith? This is certainly the case for thousands of Chinese students and scholars who have studied abroad over the past three decades. For those yet to return, how will their faith, acquired while overseas, and often learned from Westerners in a foreign language, be brought home to become part of their daily life in China? Will these new believers, as returnees, view their new faith as one of the changes that “must now be reversed for the sake of fitting in”? Or will they discover how to be both Chinese and Christian, finding their places of service in the churches of China, perhaps via returnee fellowships made up of others who, like themselves, came to faith while studying abroad?

You can read all the articles here.  We’d like to draw your attention to the following articles that are particularly helpful:

The Need for Chinese Students to Prepare for Their Return

by Stuart

This article is a good summary of many of the issues that Chinese Returnees face.

Returnees Committing to Church in China 

by Henry E. T.

This articles looks at the challenges for Returnees in committing to a Church when they return to China.

Returnee Ministry at Home and Abroad

by Lydia Song

This article looks at cooperation between China and western Christians in helping returnees to be a blessing to the Church in China