Training Christian Leaders in China
It’s the fastest growing church in the world – and we’re part of it. Every week in China, for the last thirty years, a worshiping community has either been newly built or re-opened. And last year alone, more than 40,000 new believers were baptised.
The story of the church in China is one of redemption. Closed and largely silenced during the Cultural Revolution, the growth of the church since then has much to teach us about God’s work in the world today. What are the powerful personal stories of transformation told by Chinese Christians that call others to faith? How did the Church grow from one million to 38 million in just thirty years? And how does it manage such a huge number of followers with only 3800 ordained ministers?
These are the questions the Uniting Church in Australia is seeking to answer in partnership with the China Christian Council, a relationship that was formalised 3 years ago in a historic agreement between our two Churches. We aim to support the training of desperately needed pastors, as well as learn from the vitality of this growing community of faith.
“This is a mutual relationship but it came at the direct request of the Church in China,” says Project Manager Rev Dr Ji Zhang.
“The Church has huge needs – it’s mostly lay-led with a total of 40,000 staff altogether. Most leaders have few theological qualifications, hold responsibility for congregations of hundreds of thousands and are attempting to train and teach 38 million followers. Supporting them to develop full leadership capacity is so vital – they are the fastest growing Christian community in the world and as the Christian centre moves from the West to the East, the need to equip a church with theological skills for the 21st century is critical. We are supporting the 12th Theological PhD Student in the entire country! We’re also supporting students at the National Seminary who’ll work in remote communities caring for the elderly, vulnerable people and children who have been orphaned by the recent changes in Chinese society that have seen so many move to the cities looking for work.
Donations to Lent Event this year are contributing to the leadership of the largest, most dynamic church in the world. Christianity may be losing influence in many parts of the West, but its shape and form are being decided right now in churches in Asia and Africa. The Uniting Church in Australia has a seat at the table through our relationship with the China Christian Council and your gift allows us not only to help shape young leaders, but to learn from the passionate witness of people in the Chinese Church. We learn from their experience as the spirit of God revitalises the church after decades spent underground.
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