Western Church once sent out large number of missionaries, but why is it that the Chinese Church is so weak in the mission ministries? Being widely expected to “Receive the Last Baton of Global Missions” and “Lead the 21st Century Mission Ministry”, how can the Chinese Church step out of the obstacles and welcome the revival in the mission field?”
With over 60 years of experience in developing Chinese mission ministries, Rev. Zheng Quo, Chinese Gospel Operation International founder and chairman of the board of directors, shared the message on “How to Revive the Chinese Church’s mission ministry?” at the Christian Witness Theological Seminary Retirement Day. His encouragement is filled with sincerity, which inspired the teachers and students present to gain strength, inspiring them to offer and sacrifice fully for the mission field.
“Western church has an expectation towards the Chinese Church to “Receive the Last Baton of Global Missions” and “Lead the 21st Century Mission Ministry”. This is a pride and joy to the Chinese Church.” Rev. Zheng Shared.
However, looking at the present situation of mission ministries, we can’t help but worry. First, the mission ministries in the Chinese Church began later. It only has a history of about 50 years. In addition, the development of Chinese mission ministries has always been very slow. It is always staying in a worn out state. Only 10% of the overall Chinese Church participates in missions, so we can see that the Chinese Churches is expecting for a revival.
Two Major Reasons why Chinese Mission Ministries is Fallen Behind and Worn Out
What is blocking the Chinese Church from participating in missions? Addressing the questions expressed by many, Rev. Zheng pointed out two major reasons and expressed that they are the results of his many years of research.
“Chinese Churches are somewhat cold-hearted towards mission ministries. The greatest cause for development’s slowness is because of the Chinese traditional conservative thinking that is passed down by the Chinese.” Rev. Zheng stated. Chinese heritage, Chinese family and Chinese beliefs are very conservative, which inhibits the Chinese from taking risks (with exception to earning money). It is the same in missions.
“We must change these negative ethnic characteristics,” said Rev. Zheng.
On the other hand, the Chinese people have experienced numerous sufferings and trials, long period of instability. These experiences formed a selfish character. This is also the same cause that the Chinese Church are narrow-minded in just concerned about their own church, unwilling to donate money and offer human resources to mission ministries. As a result, numerous churches were not able to dispatch missionaries and the mission funds are also very limited.
The First Step to Revive Mission Ministries in the Chinese Church: Exalting the Bible
Next, Rev. Zheng heavily spoke about how the Chinese Church can revive its mission ministries. The first step is to firmly realize that mission is God’s command; In the Old and New Testament, God has always led his servants and his people to walk a path of serving in mission, and Jesus Christ reveals to us the greatest example.
“The Bible continuously speaks about mission works, and our God can be called the God of missions. Thus, when the Chinese Church follows the way of the Lord in developing the mission ministries, then there can be great development.” said Rev. Zheng. If a church exalts the Bible, then it should participate actively in mission ministries.
The Second Step to Revive Mission Ministries in the Chinese Church: Pastoral Ministers Leading by Example, Bringing Initiative Effects.
Rev. Zheng expressed that in order for a church’s mission ministry to revive, ministers need to be changed to push forward missions, because their responsibilities are the greatest. If the even the ministers are not passionate for missions, then how can the believers respond?
Regarding this, he brought up eight suggestions to the ministers: continue to learn how to do missions while ministering, thoroughly teach church elders and coworkers to do missions, speak about messages on missions and clearly say the need for the gospel both locally and globally behind the podium, remind consistently of the works of global missions during prayer meetings, decorate the church for global missions, encourage believers to read periodicals about missions, churches should hold annual mission conferences, encourage believers to offer up their money and resources to develop burden for missions.
The Third Step to Revive Mission Ministries in the Chinese Church: Setting up Mission’s “Four Corners of Steel”
Rev. Zheng believes that every church should become a mission base by sending out large quantity of long-term and short-term missionaries both locally and overseas. It shouldn’t place all the responsibility of missions on mission ministries.
Of course, mission ministries have their commission to assist the church to push forward mission and to provide instructions; while seminaries need to provide theology and equipping. That is why mission ministries must setup the “Four Corners of Steel”, which consists of church, seminary, mission groups and missionaries, to help one another connect, support mutually, and depend upon one another.
The Fourth Step to Revive Mission Ministries in the Chinese Church: Boldly Preach, Courageously Take Risks
The greatest challenge of the Chinese Church in reviving missions is itself – lacking in the spirit to take risks and having a selfish mentality. Thus, Rev. Zheng encouraged the Chinese Church to boldly go on missions, and with faith to respond to the Great Commission of the Lord.
Using his experience, Rev. Zheng testified how God led the revival of the mission ministry in the churches where he ministered. Forty years ago, he ministered at a church in Philippines, and this church was no different to the other church, where they didn’t have their own service chapel, the resources in finance and manpower were scarce, but the passion for missions kept burning in his heart.
For this, he boldly persuaded his coworkers to first put the church’s resources in missions, putting the ministry of building the church in the back. In the coworkers’ eyes, this was a very risky task. If it failed, then the damage could be very severe.
But because of the faith of Rev. Zheng, God greatly revived his church. In 1960, the first missionary was dispatched, and 50 missionaries were dispatched in the following 15 years. However, the congregation increased from 100 people to 500 people, and in the matter of finances because they emptied, they were greatly filled by the Lord.
“In the 17 years I ministered there, 15 years was spent on pushing forth missions. Large number of people were dispatched (at first, it was half of entire congregation). When there was request for financial support, we did not hold back in donating. The conclusion is that not only did the church funds and human resources not used up, but we were filled even more abundantly. God is truly faithful,” said Rev. Zheng.
“If you faithfully obey God’s command, he shall multiply your blessings,” said Rev. Zheng.
[Editor's note: Jonathan Quan from New York has contributed in this report.]