China (MNN) — China Partner is already used to traveling the country of China and teaching young leaders how to show their neighbors the love of Christ. But on their most recent trip, they added a new stop to their journey.
According to China Partner’s Erik Burklin, Chongqing has a population of 30 million people and is large enough that it has its own district.
“This particular city, because of its size, has started a new seminary, a small school that started in 2008 and is about 10 years old,” Burklin says. “The pastor there got to know us last year when we did kind of a courtesy visit with him and he really wanted us to come back with a small teaching team to help his small seminary of about 28 students with some practical ministry tool equipment.”
And come back they did. China Partner led leadership training in Chongqing with their own team, a pastor from the Philippines who specializes in youth ministry training, and a New Zealand pastor that taught Christian leadership “based specifically on the Bible’s understanding of a leader in a church setting.”
The training mostly focused on youth ministry. “You have to let the young people know that you care for them, and the way you tell them how much you care about that young person is you spend time with them, you get to know them, you ask questions, you go out to have lunch with them,” Burklin says. He says those same ministry mindsets are true across many cultures, so having a diverse team allowed China Partner to put together a more comprehensive view of ministry.
In the words of one of the seminary students, “You’re teaching us how to serve young people by paying attention to their needs. You’re really teaching us that love equals time and time equals love.”
The Gospel is moving through China’s young people, and Burklin says that’s especially important given their cultural context.
“They consider it a joy to follow Jesus in a context where it’s still a Communist regime, it’s still a Communist country run by a Communist party,” he says. “We all know that Jesus was about the fulfillment of the law. He has always been about the Good News of the Gospel that makes any society better, not worse. It’s not about culture, it’s about a new Jesus culture.”
“We know that we’re investing in the next generation. These are all young 20-somethings, although some of them are a little older and are already married, and most of them are in the beginning phase of ministering the Gospel in their communities.”
China Partner has already been invited back for next year. That’s good news for an organization whose strategy focuses on going back to the same places to build relationships and continue discipleship. They can also build onto training and bring depth or personalized content to specific areas and groups.
“We as China Partner have this distinct privilege and honor to pour into these next generation people, into the younger generation of Chinese, to equip them so that they can be doing more things to see people come to faith in Jesus Christ in whatever town they’re going to be ministering in,” Burklin says.
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“As long as the door stays open, we’re going to keep serving our brothers and sisters in China, and if someday the door shuts, then we will take that from God as well and say ‘God, it’s your timing, and we trust you in this.’ Hopefully, that will never be the case, but we’re ready for it if it is.”