The largest and oldest Chinese mission organization in Europe has recently launched ‘Macedonia Call’ in the United States with an aim to support Chinese missions in Europe.
Starting from March 30, General Director of the Chinese Overseas Christian Mission (COCM) Mary Wang and one of the council members from the U.K. have been visiting four to five Chinese churches in the New England region to share about the challenges and opportunities in the European mission field.
On April 8, COCM USA Board is also organizing a prayer and vision sharing information meeting at the Chinese Baptist Church of Greater Hartford for church pastors, elders, deacons, mission representatives who are interested in European short-term mission opportunities.
The aim of COCM’s trip to USA this time is to look for partners from Chinese Christian churches and individuals in the United Stated for prayer support, financial providence, and active participation.
According to COCM General Director Mary Wang, the need for Chinese Christian ministries in Europe has been rising over the last few decades; particularly there is a huge influx of thousands of Mainland Chinese students. Meanwhile, there are over 250 Chinese churches and fellowships across Europe, but less than half of them have a full-time minister in charge. One of the greatest challenges for Chinese missions in Europe is therefore the lack of missionaries and church leaders.
COCM has long been recruiting short-term mission teams from Chinese churches and fellowships from different parts of the world to serve in Europe. Wang wishes to see more cooperation with the Chinese churches in the United States, especially in terms of organizing short-term mission teams.
More importantly, in order to meet the long-term demand of mission leaders. COCM has built a Bible College at its headquarters in Milton Keynes, United Kingdom. It offers a one-year diploma program specialized in pastoral ministries in collaboration with professors from a leading seminary called Alliance Bible Seminary in Hong Kong.
The two most important targeting groups of Chinese missions in Europe are the Mainland Chinese students and the second generation Chinese, according to Wang.
"Since the 1980’s, China has opened up and many Mainland Chinese have migrated to Europe and now these intellectuals have become the major members of the European Chinese churches. Mandarin ministry is a very important commission," Wang said.
Evangelism among the Mainlanders will in turn benefit the missions in China, Wang explained, "Over 60 percent of Mainland students will go back to China because the economy is China is flourishing. In their workplace, Christians can testify the message of gospel to the people around them."
Second generation Chinese or so-called BBC (British Born Chinese) is the very precious treasure for the Chinese churches and mission in Europe, according to Wang.
"Many languages are being spoken in Europe, such as French, Swedish, Dutch, Italian and so on, yet it is very difficult to find Chinese missionaries who can speak those languages perfectly," explained Wang. "BBCs are very good potential missionaries for Europe."
In the light of the declining Christianity in Europe, Wang has a great hope that Chinese Churches will be able to re-evangelize Europe and revive the continent. And that will first require the Chinese churches to grow with the second generation leaders set up strongly.
"The vision of COCM is to first gain the second generation and teach them the vision of re-evangelizing Europe. In the past, European missionaries come to China and bring us the Gospel, but now Chinese bring back the gospel to Europe," Wang stated.
Training for the second generation Chinese to become evangelists is very crucial. Wang urges Chinese churches in Europe to emphasize more on youth ministries and also to train many English-speaking leaders to lead the youths.
She added that God has abundantly blessed the US Chinese churches, many countries have been opened through them, therefore she also hopes that they will be awaken to see the urgent call from Europe.
"We wish that US Chinese churches can send many short-term mission teams over to Europe and serve the people there," Wang suggested.
COCM has been cultivating on the harvest field of Europe since 1950, while concluding the past half-century long of ministries, Wang gave a general overview of the trend of evangelism in Europe as saying, "There are many works that we still need to do, especially we must plant many churches all across Europe because now the European Chinese churches are very dispersed."
In addition, she mentioned the importance of reaching out to the grassroots with the gospel. 80 to 90 percent of the Chinese immigrants in Europe are involved in restaurant business. Due to their lifestyle and work schedule, it is a huge challenge to evangelize them effectively.
"By God’s grace, we are doing all these important works. We still need to work harder and we need to receive God’s guidance to accomplish all these commissions," Wang reflected.
Wang and other COCM coworkers will be presented at the prayer meeting on Tuesday evening at Oversea Chinese Mission (OCM)- the church with the largest English congregation in the U.S.- in New city to share about the Europe vision.