Serving an indigenous movement.
Training in the gospel of grace.
Resourcing the church in China.
China Partnership longs to see a vibrant and life-transforming Chinese church that roots itself in the gospel of grace and impacts the foundations of Chinese society, as it serves and leads within the global church community.
For the first time in two thousand years of world history, Christianity has the opportunity to influence an enormous, non-western, and heterogeneous culture, having direct access to its fundamental core values and shaping its understanding of humanity. So far the gospel has spread along with the advance of the West, and it has not yet thoroughly encountered and transformed another culture as it did the Greco-Roman world. But China has the potential to become a nation greatly shaped by the redemptive grace of Christ and the next great cultural center to be influenced by the gospel.
Now is the time to work and devote our lives to the gospel capturing the Chinese mind and heart for the glory of our resurrected Lord. It is a time of opportunity and it is also a time of life and death. We are convinced that genuine change of heart, mind, and lifestyle are the true marks of God’s reign among his people and we hope the church will be a lasting, renewing force as it takes the posture of a servant within Chinese society. We pray that just as the gospel of Jesus Christ crucified and resurrected transformed and reconstructed the ancient Roman world, it will also capture the hearts of the Chinese, eventually impacting the culture for Christ.
Though personal salvation is the core of Christ’s work, the gospel according to the Bible is of cosmic proportions that are bigger than the individual. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and its eternal implications for humankind and all creation is the central message of the gospel and the ultimate reality of life. It is this message that will redeem God’s people and generate genuine Christ-followers. It has the power to transform neighborhoods and cities, and to renew the culture. It will establish strong counter-cultural, yet culturally literate, life-giving, and grace-centered churches. It is this big, cosmic, eschatological gospel that the Chinese people need to hear as they go through a time of cultural reconstruction.
The first step is the personal salvation of individuals, along with the rise of God’s people corporately. Time and again, God’s salvation plan has repeatedly started with a man, a family, a tribe, a nation, and onward into the entire world. It is within this redemptive-historical metanarrative that the story of a nation can be retold and reconstructed; therefore, the gospel has a unique opportunity to enter and reconstruct Chinese culture as a whole. Change and transformation must start from God’s people and flow out from this kingdom of heaven on earth. This huge task has to start small and it may take a hundred years, but we look to Christ in hopeful expectation.
A Shift In Missions
It’s time for a change in missions. For the past two hundred years, Protestant efforts to spread the kingdom have relied on the pioneer foreign missionary who brings the gospel, leads people to Christ, disciples and trains converts, and eventually starts a church. Often the unintended consequences of such work are “expert” foreigners who believe the local church will crumble without their continued involvement.
Rather than focusing on the individual callings of missionaries, China Partnership believes in focusing on the establishment of the local church. When the gospel breaks through into the hearts of people, they learn to live out a gospel identity. Confidence grows, not in themselves, but in God who is at work in them. Local leaders take ownership as they experience renewed theological vision of the gospel, the community, and the city. The role of the foreign worker is to be a qualified and trained equipper, who co-labors under local direction. We desire to listen first, ask more questions, and assist local leadership accordingly.
Through pastoral training, theological education, and resource development, China Partnership has come alongside the Chinese church to serve according to its felt needs. Rather than duplicate efforts or compete with the church, our goal has been to listen the Chinese church’s leadership and serve accordingly. Among other projects, China Partnership has assisted the church in its development of vital church planting movements across China’s urban landscape. In recent years these efforts culminated in the founding of a completely Chinese owned and led network that spans the nation.
China Partnership was started in 2001 out of a partnership between Mission to the World, Redeemer City to City, and various churches in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). As our work in China has expanded, this original partnership has grown to include churches from other denominations and traditions that agree on the core distinctives of the gospel. As of 2016, CP is accountable to its own Board of Directors and Council. Partnering churches are required to subscribe to either the Westminster Standards or The Gospel Coalition Foundational Documents.
The Heart of China Partnership
Staff – Our staff is majority Chinese with extensive ministry experience in China and the United States. This enables us to think and strategize with China as our primary lens.
Contextualization – With our Chinese staff’s leadership and expertise, we are positioned to contextualize Western materials, ministry philosophies, and training curriculum for China.
Enabling Indigenous Leadership – We strive to develop indigenous leadership, and even our Chinese staff posture themselves in ways to enhance local ownership. We long to see a vibrant and life-transforming Chinese church, and for that to occur, local Chinese leaders must take ownership.
Forming a Gospel Movement –The goal of our work is to ensure the Chinese church has a robust theology of the gospel and can learn to live out of the gospel of grace. While we provide training in church planting, preaching, theological formation, and discipleship, and offer teaching on the family/marriage, faith & work, city renewal, and mercy & justice, everything begins with the same gospel theology of grace. Without grounding ourselves in this theological vision, we would be an organization with programs. Instead, and we are an organization working to form a nationwide gospel movement.