(MNN) — The Chinese government may be changing tactics in its treatment of the
house church movement. According to a
recent report from the China Aid Association, while the general crackdown
continued in 2006, the number of raids dropped, as did the number of arrests. That reflected fewer actual arrests in favor
of interrogation during a raid.
Good news? For China Partner Ministries , the answer is 'yes'. CPM's Erik Burklin says
their partners tell them the situation in China is improving. Their leaders say religious freedom is improving
in areas like Shanxi
Province. More house church leaders will be able to get
training or start training schools for emerging Christian leaders in the house
CPM is facilitating that with a student sponsorship program
in the United States.
"We help with their living expenses, and then we partner with seminaries,
such as Denver Seminary, who have committed to pay for the tuition part of
that. So together, we give the opportunity for a Chinese person to come to our
country to get theological training."
However, China Partner is re-evaluating the effectiveness of
the program. So far, they have sponsored
five individuals. "Our main concern
is that even though this is a ministry that we would like to make available to
Chinese leaders, a majority of these individuals then, once they have received
the education, do not return to China."
they're trying very hard to increase the number of trained pastors to serve in
the local churches of China
with new Bible schools, conferences and literature programs. Training of
pastors and Christian leaders is paramount in developing a strong Christian
church in China.
China Partner has conducted 45 Pastoral Training Seminars in 16 different
cities of China,
distributed over 34,000 study books and has trained over 3,600 future pastors
and Christian leaders. Click here if you want more details.