The China Partnership has been privileged to see the development of a movement of gospel-centered churches in China over the past several years and this Chinese movement shows many similarities to The Gospel Coalition (TGC). As this movement has grown in China we have had the opportunity to learn from a group like TGC. TGC is a wonderful coalition of evangelical churches in the United States that are thoroughly committed to faithfulness to the gospel by adopting foundational documents that include a confessional statement and theological vision of ministry. Like the China Partnership, TGC is focused on ensuring that the gospel message of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is applied to the Christian not only at his or her salvation but also throughout the believer’s Christian journey. TGC brings together churches from multiple different backgrounds to agree on the gospel.
The beauty of a coalition is that it brings people together. When the focus is on the death and resurrection of Christ and how it makes us acceptable before God and by his grace transforms us, we are led to take a posture of humility. Our priority becomes giving God glory and working towards a united church so that the world may know we are one.
When a coalition or movement is laser focused on the gospel, true partnership can occur between differing people. Unity in the fundamentals of the gospel allows for diversity in the different non-essentials. When the gospel is the focal point, we begin to see we are all actually on the same team. The differences that once kept us from working together are still present, but the gospel is more important.
And this is why we are partnering with TGC. Even though we do not call ourselves TGC China, we have that same ethos. We have a board and a council made up of Chinese pastors who are setting the direction of the church for years to come. We have trainings and conferences and local churches are starting city chapters. By participating in TGC meetings and by dialoging with its staff and council members, our coalition in China can learn from TGC’s experiences (both mistakes and successes) as it grows and matures.
Chinese and American churches have so much they can share with one another as Chinese churches think about how the gospel interacts with culture and how the church is to operate in this world. Both coalitions are thinking through these important questions. We may have cultural and linguistic differences, but the gospel is what unites and motivates us. At the end of time, people from every nation, tribe, and language will be before the throne – together. It is this undeniable truth that should motivate us towards partnership.
We look forward to furthering our partnership with TGC and ask the Lord for his favor in China with our coalition, as long as it will bring him praise and glory.
Jeff Kyle first went to China in the summer of 2004 and has been working with the China Partnership since graduating from Covenant College in 2006. He is passionate about US churches developing a global-local missions strategy. Jeff and his wife, Mary Elizabeth, live in New York City.