After the serious difficulties caused by the 9/11 terrorist attack, we greatly appreciate the continual and faithful support from the Christians in the United States. We would like to express our deep thanksgiving for this!
The majority of the people in China, especially those Christians and intellectuals that have a conscience, condemn the terrorist activities perpetrated on the United States. They express their deepest sympathy and solicitude to those victims of the incident and understand and support the determination of the US government to crackdown on such terrorist activities.
"What is the greatest need within the Church in China?" I would answer without hesitation, "Today's greatest need within the Church in China are trainers and workers who can teach other workers!"
After the 9/11 incident, I was viewing the largest Web site in China, SINA, and discovered they had established a 9/11 chat room. Within several hours, between 11:22 pm on September 11th to 3:14 am on September 12th (Beijing time), 25 of my Web friends were voicing their condemnation of the terrorist activities and expressing their sympathy and support to the US government and the victims of the tragedy. They were offering flowers, incense and songs as a memorial to the deceased souls.
Undoubtedly, a small group of people in this country have a different kind of understanding but this is not the mainstream of China's society. Similarly, in the United States, not everyone always has the same view on a particular event. The most important thing is to have more effective communication and exchange for the purposes of reaching greater common understanding.
I was born in Shanghai and grew up in a friendly atmosphere with American people. From my own understanding of the past 20 years, China'sability to change and reform towards a more democratic form of government has made great progress although we are far from the goal. If we were to look back at the process, however, in a fair and objective manner, one would be able to see how many monumental changes have been made. Indeed, we are grateful and feel encouraged for what has been achieved! When striving towards the distant goal, we have to constantly provide encouragement and support for whatever little progress is achieved.
China is a large country with a huge population. Every province in China is unique and rich in its historical and cultural heritage. Therefore, economic, political and social developments are not always in balance or in synch creating many challenges when it comes to merging into the International arena. Despite these issues, the Chinese people are resilient and are responding positively to the transitional challenges set before them.
The standard of education in China increases daily. The average citizen is better off and is relying more on modern technology from the West. Given the times we live in and the rapidly growing economic developments occurring in China, the country's need to conform to the democratic process is becoming irreversible. China is improving and one can see these positive changes reflected in Chinese society and its people.
Everything is of God and the Chinese churches cannot ignore the rapid changes that are occurring in society. There is a need to be positive and patient at the same time. The Church is the conscience of society. It should a place of comfort and home for the Spirit of God as it fulfills its ultimate goal. The Church should increase the quality of its mission in the turbulent and rapidly changing environment in which it dwells. The Church needs a class of people filled with vitality, desire to fulfill God's will, faithful to the Lord and with one heart in the Truth, pursuing the revival of the Gospel.
East Gates has been conforming to and meeting the diverse needs of the Chinese churches in the ten years of its existence. It's been working very diligently and quietly. The core of our work has been to assist the House churches receive Bibles and help believers grow spiritually and increase in Biblical knowledge. Over the years, we have continually increased our number of services to the Chinese churches. We have gained the trust of many church leaders and churches that give their positive support to our ministry. We would not have been able to complete the vision that God had entrusted in our hearts without their trust and support.
When we visit different places, we especially pay attention to those workers that are growing in different areas. We give our enthusiastic support and encouragement to these potential brothers and sisters and try our best to help them. Now, the younger generation of Chinese churches is growing. They have more education than the older generation churches. They are more experienced in ministry and understand the calling from God more clearly. May God help them. May the Holy Spirit continue to fill them up always so they can grow together with the blessings of God. May God help them fulfill the future urgent needs within the Chinese churches and become mighty tools used by God for the chosen of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
If someone were to ask me today, "What is the greatest need within the Church in China?" I would answer without hesitation, "Today's greatest need within the Church in China are trainers and workers who can teach other workers!"
When we visited the Jai Mu Shi in Heilongjiang Province, a local church that had three years of theological training but lacked the teachers to continually fill the needs of the students. Rev. Han in Dingxi, Gansu Province hopes he can fully utilize the Training Center we helped build and fund but due to lack of qualified teachers.
Different theological training classes in different areas have surfaced like mushrooms but in general, they lack qualified teachers and therefore, restrict the development of training within the House churches. There are so many urgent needs in different areas that require trained pastors, workers, and lay trainers to feed the flock. These needs are increasing daily!
The churches in different areas not only lack teachers but more importantly, high quality teachers. Some of the believers would do so much better if they only had competent Christian teachers guiding and leading them in their spiritual formation.
For example, some wonderfully converted Christians I know in Shandong, Zhejiang and Jiangxi Province have high school educations and over ten years of experiences in various ministries. They all diligently study the Bible together and take on the work of teaching in their churches. Given the few of them, they can fulfill the needs of those in their local church but cannot meet the demands of those who are now coming into their fellowship.
For the healthy growth of the church, the congregations need teachers that are faithful, knowledgeable and can teach at many different levels. May God prepare servants that have these attributes to meet the needs of the Chinese Churches! May God touch us so we can respond quickly to the needs of Chinese Churches! We work in response and by the guidance of Holy Spirit to have a greater impact on the Church in China.
Mr. Zhang ~ Shanghai