China has the fastest growing church on earth, with three new church communities being started every day. With only one ordained minister per 18,000 Christians, the capacity to train leaders struggles to keep pace with growth.
Furthermore, in the past, the Chinese church teachings focused almost entirely on spiritual salvation, as all aspects of social and community service was under state control. In modern China, the church is exploring the the call of the gospel to be a blessing to the wider community, seeking to serve the poor, the aged and those in the margins of society. Developing a theology and practice of social service for the unique Chinese context is a vital need in equipping the leaders and members of the Chinese church.
We support the China Christian Council in unlocking this bottle neck.
Bilingual training for remote area leaders: In Guangxi, Yunnan, and Guizhou provinces, in remote South West China, live ethnic communities whose language and culture are distinct from the majority Han Chinese. They are far from the wealth and services of the booming Chinese economy. We support our partners to provide training for leaders (not ordained ministers) from these regions to help translate their faith into practical social outreach, with subjects like ‘Psychology of Pastoral Care’, ‘Social Service’, ‘Ethics’, and ‘Religious Law and Regulations’ being linked to Biblical studies and systematic theology.
Training university educators: The shortage of PhD qualified academics in Chinese seminaries slows their ability to train their own leaders. The Uniting Church, with its post-denominational identity and strong emphasis on social service offers strong common interest for post-graduate education for leaders from our partner church. We currently support one PhD student in Melbourne, who is expected to complete their studies by the end of 2019.
Elder care training: The need for supporting older people, particularly in rural China, is an escalating need in China, where young people have moved in droves to the cities. The Chinese church is stepping up to this challenge, and UnitingWorld is facilitating a relationship between UnitingCare (the Uniting Churches social services arm which has extensive experience in the aged-care sector) and the China Christian Council to facilitate staff to staff training.
In 2018, 129 bilingual community leaders from 14 ethnic minority groups received professional development training. One third the leaders were women.
One PhD is part-way through his PhD study in Melbourne.
China Christian Council
Church Connections (non tax-deductible)