SAN FRANCISCO- Most overseas Christians are very familiar with the fast development of churches in rural China. However, the flourishing of urban churches is something new to them. In fact, the fire of gospel is not only burning in China's countryside, but also in every corner of several hundred cities. As a result, Chinese church expansion in urban China is significant to the gospelization of China and the revival of North American Chinese Churches, a Chinese mission expert says.
In the annual mission conference coorganized by Chinese churches in Atlanta, Pastor Luke Zhang, Director of Chinese Ministry from The Sowers International, came up with the idea that "Evangelization in Mainland Chinese cities is closely related to the future of North American churches; collaboration between them is significant to China's gospelization and the revival of North American Chinese churches."
Vigorous development of churches in urban China is unbelievable with the rapid urbanization of China and the surge of immigrant workers. Chinese churches in urban areas have been growing vigorously. According to official statistics, Christians in major cities are as many as 6,750,000 which is equal to the population of Hong Kong. Nevertheless, the actual number of city Christians are well over this figure, says Pastor Luke Zhang.
Besides, Pastor Zhang talks about the transition of mainland evangelical movement in seven aspects, namely, from countryside to cities, costal regions to inland, base to many levels, single to diversity, receiving to giving, domestic to overseas and self-closing to cooperation.
“These amazing changes in Chinese churches indicate that now is the golden time to proclaim the gospel to China,” expressed Pastor Zhang.
Chinese churches are developing at an amazing speed; the fire of gospel is spreading from countryside to cities, from coastal areas to inland. The gospel banner waves high even in the frontier provinces such as Tibet and Xinjiang. Moreover, the gospel penetrates into all kinds of trades and aspects of Chinese life; even officialdom is no exception.
Mainland churches grow fast not only in number, but also congregants are becoming more mature in faith. More and more churches break the artificial ice and join hands to denote money and and human resources for overseas mission. All of this corresponds to the vision that “Gospel came into China and Chinese go out to proclaim it.”
"The 1990s’ boom of campus Bible study and fellowship in China has set a solid foundation for the development of city churches,” says Pastor Zhang, “also a lot of overseas Christians returned to China. Their confluence will make a promising future for Chinese churches and they will be the backbone of church development.”
Evangelization in major cities in China bears a close relationship to the future of North American Chinese Churches. Although North America is far away from China, but in God’s eyes North American and Chinese churches are closely linked to each other.
“North America has become the largest base proclaiming the gospel to China,” says Pastor Zhang.“meanwhile development of China city churches will bring about the revival of North American churches.”
Due to the tide of mainland people immigration to North America, almost half of the congregants in over 60% North American Chinese churches come from China mainland. Therefore it has become a big challenge on how to teach Chinese from mainland, he explains.
However, opportunities coexist with challenges. Pastor Zhang adds. Experience of Chinese city evangelization will be helpful to North American churches to teach Chinese with a mainland background.
Besides, Pastor Zhang encourages Chinese churches to pay greater efforts to evangelization since evangelization is the basis of development and vigor of all churches. Now the heart of God is in China and Chinese are pursuing the gospel enthusiastically, so overseas Chinese churches should grasp the golden opportunity.