‘The church in China has been maturing in its understanding of its role in world missions’, writes David Ro of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Chinese leaders are now focusing on healthy sending bases and structures. As 20,000 foreign missionaries have been sent to China in the last 200 years, the Mission China 2030 challenge aims to see at least 20,000 Chinese missionaries overseas by 2030. ‘China’s example should inspire church leaders anywhere to come together in unity to accomplish a global mission vision for their country’, says Ro. ‘They also need to be prepared for a Chinese church on a mission with a global reach. Through trials and suffering, God has faithfully blessed the church in China so that it may be a blessing to the world’.
An in-depth analysis of the emergence of China as a global missions force is available on the website of the Lausanne Movement. Christian columnist Lee Grady also wrote about this development. ‘You can’t ignore the miracle of Christianity in China. Recently I worshipped in Hong Kong at the Wing Kwong Church, that has grown from 28 members in 1978 to more than 13,000 today.’ Hudson Taylor’s beloved China is becoming a Christian country.’ Speaker at the meeting was James Hudson Taylor IV, the great-great-grandson of British missionary pioneer Hudson Taylor, who ventured to China in 1854 to evangelize the world’s most populous nation. ‘God has entrusted to the Chinese church a special mandate for the 21st century,’ he declared.
When Hudson Taylor sailed to China, there were no Christians there – yet the China Inland Mission that he established won 18,000 converts to Jesus Christ during his lifetime and became one of the greatest success stories in modern missions. Today, Taylor’s great-great-grandson witnesses one of the greatest miracles on planet earth – Hudson Taylor’s beloved China is becoming a Christian country.
Consider these facts about the Chinese church:
1. China will likely become the largest Christian nation in the world by the year 2030. Fenggang Yang, a professor of sociology at Purdue University, predicts that by 2030, China’s total Christian population, including Catholics, will exceed 247 million, placing it above Mexico, Brazil and the United States as the largest Christian population in the world.
2. More Christians attend church on Sundays in China today than in Europe.
3. Spiritual hunger is exploding in China, even though the country is officially atheist. A recent study found that online searches for the words “Christian congregation” and “Jesus” are far more numerous than for “communist party.” And as more people have moved from rural areas to big cities, large numbers of young professionals have turned to Christ. Missiologists say between 10,000 and 25,000 people convert to Christianity every day in China.
4. Persecution of Christians is still rampant in China, but it does not seem to be slowing church growth.
5. The growth of Chinese Christianity is linked to its economic growth. Economists announced that China overtook the United States as the world’s largest economy in late 2014. A recent study by Qunyong Wang of Nankai University and Xinyu Lin of Renmin University of China discovered there was robust economic growth in areas of China where Christian congregations are growing. Could it be that God will use the vast financial resources of China to pay for the next great thrust of world evangelism?