China (MNN) — Though they may not face as much pressure as North Korean Christians, it’s no secret that restrictions on the Chinese Church have been recently tightened. That means future ministry in China is going to require creative solutions.
Collaboration and Communication
The first step toward those solutions requires laying a foundation of partnership and camaraderie. To that end, Wendell Rovenstine of Bibles for China met virtually with representatives of several organizations who participate in ongoing work in China. From distributing Bibles to providing resource training, these organizations already have a history of working with ministry efforts in China, and all of them agreed that they needed to plan for the future.
“All of us are experiencing some changes that are necessary for us in China,” Rovenstine says. “Our desire was to make sure that the Bible is still preeminent, that we’re not losing our touch to be able to place Bibles within China.”
Some of the questions these organizations are asking can only be answered by Chinese locals. To that end, Bibles for China and some of these other ministries plan to spend August finding out what they can directly from the horse’s mouth.
For example, several organizations noted that local printing presses have not produced as many Bibles this year as they typically would. “We want to address that and look into that to say ‘Is there a reason? Is there something we should know about?’” Rovenstine says. “We want to be on the ground in the places where the Bibles are printed and in the places where we can get answers to get some reasonable understanding of what 2020 will look like for our projects.”
A big part of Rovenstine’s 2020 plan involves partnering with local Chinese believers who know what strategies to use, areas to visit, and relationships to build for effective ministry in China. Other organizations are on board with this approach, hoping to change training programs and resource distribution so they can be run from within China by Chinese nationals.
“We need to do as much as we can to develop in-country partnerships with in-country Christians that have Chinese bases and have the freedom and the opportunities to touch China in a way that probably we’re not going to be able to do as Westerners,” Rovenstine says.
To that end, they’re making some major shifts to the way they approach missions trips and visits to China. Rather than travelling to China to see distribution efforts through in person, they’re hoping to foster trust and efficiency by training people who are already on the ground.
They’re also hoping to stay at the forefront of technological advancement when it comes to sharing the Gospel. Rovenstine says they’re looking at digital Bible study options to help keep believers in touch even when they can’t be in one another’s living rooms. No matter the format, “God’s Word is something they have to build their lives on in order to receive Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and have hope when their life is completed.”
Things might be changing for China and the ministries that work there, but one thing’s for certain; the Gospel always needs to be the center of any work that happens there.
“Just pray that we have the wisdom to know who to visit with, who to trust, and who we can commit God’s Word to in order to keep the integrity of God’s Word and our ministry intact so we’re accomplishing what God’s called us to do.”
Header photo courtesy of Bibles for China