China (MNN) — Cultural boundaries can make communication difficult. How do you explain what you believe to someone who speaks a different language, faces different expectations from society, and relates to people in a different way?
That’s what makes China Partner’s team so effective.
On their most recent trip, their group included Chinese workers, a Christian leader from New Zealand, American believers, and representatives from a new partnership in the Philippines. According to Erik Burklin, that’s exactly the kind of combination China Partner is looking for.
“The more we can bring international pastors with us, we can help the Chinese understand this isn’t just an American Christ we’re bringing with us from the United States,” he says.
They want to show the Chinese Church that they are part of a global body of believers made up of many countries, cultures, and languages. China Partner is serving them, but they’re also serving China Partner.
“We always wanted to come across to them not as people who usurp our authority and our knowledge on to them but that we would be coming in a very neutral and humble way and saying ‘Hey, is there anything we could be learning from you, and from learning from you, maybe we can help each other.’”
Take their approach to training young people. To make their work as effective as possible, China Partner has collaborated with local believers to learn what exactly the youth of China are looking for. The answer? Relationship.
“They are aching to be noticed,” Burklin says. “They want to belong. They want to honor their parents and grandparents by getting good grades in school, which is part of the whole mentality of proving your worth to somebody.”
Thanks in part to societal expectations, the influence of the one-child policy, and many other factors, many Chinese young people carry a heavy cultural burden. Burklin says that’s where the Church can step in.
“They’re crying out for relationship… A church can introduce Jesus Christ into that scenario and say ‘The most important relationship you can ever have is with the most-high God.’”
But many Chinese pastors don’t always know what stepping in will actually look like. China Partner’s training hopes to remedy that.
“We know we’re not just there to train pastors just for the sake of training pastors but we’re there to train the next generation of pastors so they can stay passionate for the Lord Jesus and His Word but compassionate for the people who need to know about His Word and need to know about Christ.”