China (MNN) — Mission groups generally agree: China's Christian population is exploding. That means there's a huge discipling need, and pastors are being forced to admit that they don't have the "official" resources for biblical training.
Their response launched a movement, says China Partner's Erik Burklin. "There's a new phenomenon happening: Chinese churches are organizing short-term training for lay leaders. In order for that to be expedited, more and more local churches are opening up what they call 'Bible training centers.' These are not official seminaries or Bible schools as such but more specifically designed for laity of Christian leadership."
China Partner works with the registered churches and seminaries in China to provide leadership training to future church leaders and pastors. Burklin says they're looking to help fund the centers, but they're also recruiting other trained leaders to mentor. "This is now going into the grassroots level. This is going to the back countryside of China–the rural areas where the majority of the Christians live and where there is very little help being given."
The challenge comes in figuring out how to help. Each Pastoral Training Seminar requires a tremendous amount of time, energy, and resources. Foreign teachers must be academically credentialed and their transcripts or resumes scrutinized by CP and the China Christian Council before they can be accepted as part of a teaching team.
The team is also producing a curriculum especially for these short-term seminars. It will be updated to meet the particular ministry needs in China. Besides training in basic Bible doctrine, the core curriculum places importance on the Bible in their daily lives.
Pray that God would give wisdom developing this new curriculum and provide funding for its completion. Pray, too, that believers would respond to the short-term needs. Click here if you want to know more.