China (MNN) — Ministry reports out of China are mixed. Some report ministry is more open than it's ever been before. Other groups say Christians are oppressed more than ever. We know both are true. We've told you about stories of house churches being closed down and Christians arrested. However, here's a story not at all like that one.
President of China Partners Eric Burklin just returned from China. He says one registered church pastor is seeing many turn to Christ through hotel outreach "by renting a ballroom at a local hotel, and then having each church member bring a non-Christian friend or family member to this special event. They have dancing, plays, and music. At the end, he preached an evangelistic message, and 60 accepted Christ."
Burklin says pastors are using avenues outside the local church to introduce people to Christ. This pastor says he's baptized more than 200 new believers.
Many people wonder if this is illegal. Burklin did, too. "I asked this pastor very specifically, 'Isn't this illegal?' He said, 'Well, we didn't ask authorities ahead of time. We just did it. We figured that if they weren't going to say anything, we were just going to do it.'"
China Partner provides training to church leaders in the country. Burklin says the leaders are asking for something controversial — youth training. It's illegal to evangelize children under 18. "They would have to figure out how they could legally do that. The government is very concerned about not forcing anybody under 18 to make a decision in any religious direction."
Despite that, China Partners is raising money for this new ministry push. Burklin says it's important, especially since many young people who are in their late teens and early 20's are interested in knowing about God. He says a conversation with a 22-year-old university graduate at McDonalds in China proves this. "This conversation at McDonalds turned into a day-long witnessing [event], because the next day we invited her to come to church where we were doing our training. And she did show up."
If you'd like to help China Partner with youth ministry training in China, click here.