Chinese Christians to use Olympics for outreach

By January 11, 2008

China (MNN) — The Summer Olympics in China will be a moment
of pride for the country, as well as one of scrutiny. While China gets a chance to display its
best, world attention will also shed light on its failings.  

The Chinese government's emphasis on the Games has reached a
frenzied pitch as they try to shake off the negative image. They're hoping their success will help them
re-draw that and showcase the country as a global power. That's forcing an obsession
that could work to the church's advantage.

China Partner Ministries' Erik Burklin agrees. "They want to show the world that China
is progressively thinking forward, not backward."

As with every Olympic contest, hundreds of faith-based
groups turn out to welcome the thousands of spectators. But, ministry is not limited to just the outside
partners.

Burklin says it's a
strategic time for believers and those they've trained as church leaders.
"The Chinese church is looking to the Olympics as an opportunity for
Gospel advancement and for sharing Christ with those who are coming to their
country. I find it significant in that not just foreign organizations are
looking to the Olympics to see how this could possibly be a positive for Gospel
advancement, but the Chinese church itself is looking towards this as an
opportunity."

Their excitement continues to build. It was felt during one of Burklin's visits to
a partnering church in Chengdu. "It
never stops to amaze me how many people gather to worship God on a Sunday
morning," he said. "There is a genuine hunger for God's Word and a deep
desire to grow spiritually."

The ministry has been serving the church in China
by equipping more pastors and lay pastors to carry out the work of
Christ. Pray that God would raise up more Chinese Christian leaders who
will faithfully proclaim the life-changing message of Jesus Christ.  Pray that God would open the doors for
Chinese teams to minister freely during the Games.

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