An upcoming annual Chinese Christian camp in Bay Area targets on evangelizing Mainland Chinese non-believers by challenging them to reflect on the meaning of life.
The 13th Bay Area Chinese Spring Camp (BACSC), co-organized by around seven Chinese churches in collaboration with the Tien Dao Christian Media Association, Inc., will be held on April 7-9. Since its foundation in 1994, BACSC has been dedicated to evangelistic ministries for immigrants or students from Mainland China under the leadership of Worldwide Bible Society chairman Rev. Paul Yung.
With the theme "Complete Love," the Camp will address some common issues concerning family and career among Chinese in a biblical way by using the scripture. The main speaker of the Camp is Rev. Liu Tong Su, who is a renowned scholar at Yale Theological Seminary and member of the editorial committees for some leading Chinese Christian publications such as Christian Life Quarterly and Behold Magazine.
The keynote messages will help the non-Christians or atheists to solve their doubts about Christianity. Many non believers may think that it is superstitious to have a religion; and some others may think they are too busy to practice faith. Speakers of the Camp will guide them to discover that believing in Jesus Christ can actually offer them better solutions for the problems in their careers, family and relationship.
Feng Chao, chairman of the BASCS preparatory committee, introduced several highlights of this year’s programs. One will be the English-speaking youth program led by Pastor Noel Marianetti lives, who is currently the English/Youth Pastor at Silicon Valley Church in Santa Clara, California. He has been a missionary for over seven years in Asia with five years in China. The youth program targeting on youngsters aged 12-17 will be carried out simultaneously with the major track and will focus on two main themes "Who is God" and "What is His Plan for Me?"
Another special program is the health seminars for elderly. Through expressing love and care to the elderly, BASCS hopes to lead them to Christian faith.
Feng said that around 370 people have signed up for the Camp within the first two weeks of registration. As there were around 500 participants last year, BASCS aims for a 20 percent growth in the total number of attendants. Half of the participants last year were non-believers and around 40 people dedicated themselves to Christ during the Camp. This year, BASCS hopes to convert 50 people.
"In fact, more than converting people during the Camp, what we are trying to do is to sow the seed of Gospel in their hearts. As most of them are non-believers or atheists, we need to first give them a good impression about Christianity. We will then introduce them to attend church gatherings or fellowships. And many of them become Christians afterwards," explained Feng.
According to Feng, around 15 Chinese churches in Bay Area have joined hands to organize the Spring Camp over the last 12 years, even though not all of them are still active in the preparation this time due to the change of leadership or direction. This year, the main organizers are Home Of Christ 4 and 5, River of Life Christian Church, San Jose Chinese Alliance Church, Mountain View Chinese Christian Church, Guidepost Gospel Church and Silicon Valley Christian Assembly.
When asked if there is any difficulty when churches across denominational lines work together, Feng acknowledged the possible challenge, however, he pointed out that as this is a mission-focused event, all churches have the only goal to preach the name of Jesus Christ. Therefore, through mission, all churches are able to unite together as one.
The preparatory committee of the Camp is made up of volunteers from different churches. The Camp will be offered for free and opened to all Chinese Christians so as to encourage non-believers to participate. The expenses of the Camp will be covered by donation of churches or individual offerings; however, there has never been deficit over the past 12 years, according to Feng.