Unique Qualities of Major People Groups: Mainland Chinese
Of all international students, those from Mainland China are typically the hungriest for gospel input.
- Most Chinese students lack religious or philosophical beliefs to provide answers for life’s ultimate questions.
- The widespread discontent with communism has left a “truth void.”
- While studying in America, their relationships with Christians or other religious people often motivate them to consider matters of eternal significance.
- Although their teachers and professors in China may have told them that all religion is “superstitious,” newly arrived students often meet fellow intellectuals from China who have placed faith in Christ.
As you focus on the “Connect” and “Reach” phases of ministry, remember that Chinese usually approach the gospel from a pragmatic perspective. They will want to know if God can help them with practical concerns.
- Will following Jesus have an impact on their academics?
- Will trusting Him make a difference in their finances?
- Will Christian faith help create a fulfilling family life?
- Will they gain a sense of inner peace?
A fruitful witness to Mainland Chinese will combine answers to these pragmatic questions with input on the eternal issues of sin, God’s grace and Jesus’ death on the cross.
Of course, many younger Chinese have been influenced by postmodernism, and they are not even looking for “truth” in the classic sense. For them to become open to the gospel, they will need pre-evangelistic contact with warm and friendly Christians. Once trust is built, the post-modern Chinese may be willing to open his or her heart to the Scriptures.
As you focus on the “Coach,” “Empower” and “Build Movements” phases of ministry, here are four suggestions for finding and developing Christian leaders from among the Mainland Chinese:
1. Be optimistic and trust God to help you find Chinese leaders. A tremendous amount of ministry has been done among Mainland Chinese students for the last 25 years. As a result, a trend has been established with Chinese continually coming to faith. Some are ready for a leadership challenge.
2. Don’t limit your pool of potential leaders to current students. Time and again, we have seen that Chinese who have finished their degrees can help lead local movements. They know the university culture but do not have the pressure of master’s or PhD research, so they are positioned well to engage in a multiplying ministry.
3. Consider contacting a Chinese church that is located near the university. Perhaps the church – or one particular group within the church – would like to partner with you. It is best to have a “getting to know you” or “courtship” period before you establish a permanent partnership. Work with the church on several short-term projects before making an ongoing commitment.
4. Young believers who attend Christian conferences can rapidly move toward leadership. They will receive basic ministry training, and they will meet many other growing Chinese believers from campuses throughout the U.S. The combined impact of this training and visionary experience can be huge.
With the right approach, students from Mainland China can be both a fruitful mission field as well as a great source of Christian leadership for your movement and the greater Body of Christ.