China (MNN) — Last year, China Partner started a new pastoral retreat program, revitalized efforts of the Chinese Church to reach young people, and equipped over 1,000 Christian leaders to reach their neighbors with the love and truth of Christ. In 2018, China Partner’s Erik Burklin says they’re planning to continue building the kingdom of God with the same vigor and mission they’ve always had.
“What we always do and have been doing for the years God has called us into this mission is to focus on the Word of God,” Burklin said. “Our main mission is to serve the Church in China as they reach their people for Jesus Christ, so our ministry is all focused on equipping the indigenous Chinese Church leadership.”
That mostly happens via short-term training seminars. Programs like the new “Youth Serve” initiative that help Chinese pastors prepare for youth ministry are starting up as early as March, and training will continue throughout the coming year.
But while last year was about introducing new programs, 2018 is about checking in with those trainees. That will start with a follow-up to last year’s March training and will continue into May and October. China Partner will be working “in partnership with Global Lead, a missions organization out of the Philippines that specifically exists to train pastors in youth ministry.”
There are also several churches asking for new help. Leaders in the Jiangsu province have asked China Partner to help them conduct a pastoral retreat in November, and other churches report pastors looking for the kind training and support China Partner can provide.
But even if China Partner plans on doing business as usual in 2018, China’s political climate might not cooperate. According to Burklin, thanks to China’s unique cultural and political standing, “A lot of religious activities are under scrutiny, and everything is controlled.
“Right now, we have heard that there are going to be some political changes happening in regards to religious freedoms in China,” Burklin added. “These are going to be implemented on February 1.”
That doesn’t mean anyone is giving up. “In spite of all that reality, the Church has a sense of understanding who they are in Christ,” Burklin said.
“Our friends and our partners in China have told us ‘Yes, we understand that this might change some things for us, but nevertheless, we will stay focused on what God has called us to do, and that is to pastor, to love on people, and to be salt and light in the community God has called us to.’”
As China Partner and indigenous believers prepare for 2018, they’re going to need your prayer and support. Financial contributions, spiritual support, and even volunteer work can all go a long way in making 2018 truly impactful.
“Pray for wisdom for the Church leadership in China to just stay faithful in what they have been doing and what they’re committed to doing,” Burklin said. “Pray for strength for new believers who come to faith in China that, even though there might be an oppressive regime in control of their country, they would learn to trust Jesus in the midst of that.”
The Chinese Church has faith, and they’re ready to introduce that faith to a new generation. “We wanna be a part of that, and we wanna serve them with good, biblical principles on how to do youth ministry so that the next generation can be reached with Jesus Christ.”