In Oct, China Partner will lead its second trip to China leading pastoral training seminar and visiting churches in Nanjing, Jiangxi province and various other cities in China. After returning in June from the first pastoral training seminar of this year, China Partner will continue with their pastoral training program while implementing the Christian literature distribution program, which is done in conjunction with China Christian Communication Limited in Hong Kong, distributing series of books that include commentaries, practical devotionals, life application Bible.
Since 1991, China Partners has traveled to China, visited different venues in different cities, and have conducted 42 of these pastoral training seminars in those venues. As a result of those training seminar, China Partner has trained over three thousand future pastors and emerging Christian leaders. In addition, they've also shipped over 30,000 theological books that are shipped legally from Hong Kong to bible schools like Jiangxi Bible School.
Erik Burklin, president of China Partner, told The Gospel Post reporter in an interview conducted earlier this year several challenges that Christian ministries face while working in China.
"There are restrictions that the country has set out on how religious activity can be performed in their country. This includes how foreigners are to behave when they are visiting China."
Burklin then urged Christians to pray for wisdom for the staff of China Partner that when they travel in China and deal with these brothers and sisters in Christ that they would not do anything to jeopardize their situation or compromise the sovereignty of the state.
Burklin, who believes in doing everything openly and legally, further elaborated on the challenge.
"I think the challenge is always what to do and not what to do in China. You want to be sensitive to the sovereignty of their country especially as guests. It is very important that you don't do things that are illegal and so that is always a challenge."
Currently, churches in China are growing so fast that they cannot keep up with the additional need for the pastor to be trained. Education of pastors and lay Christian leaders has become increasingly urgent.
"My prayer would not only be to accelerate the construction for more schools, but also [to] accelerate in the training future professors and teachers that would be teaching these young students in these venues," Burklin shares the urgency of this problem. "Right now, there is a tremendous lack in good professors in China."
In the aspect of cultural differences, Burklin stated that it is not enough to just translate a good commentary from English into Chinese and hand it out to those libraries.
"I think it would be best for Chinese Christian scholars to delve into these textual criticism issues and interpretation issues...and then compile [them] into a book that can be used as a commentary and study book for Chinese Christians as they grow."
In the aspect of cross-cultural cooperation, Burklin stated how seminaries in the West can "collaborate and partner" with the seminaries in China to accomplish this more efficiently.
"I would like Christians to pray for the theological training to expand all across China, not only in the registered churches but also in the unregistered churches, or 'house churches,'" said Burklin.