CM2000 29 December, 2000
Plenary: Affirming the Role of the Majority Church in World Missions

What is God Doing Among Chinese People Today?

Rev. Dr. Hay-chun Maak

A major fact about Chinese people is especially significant to evangelicals; namely, China is the nation with the largest unevangelized population, but she may also become the largest sender of missionaries.

I. The Chinese Outside of China

In the last 50 years, for many different reasons, the Chinese people left their homeland and scattered in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Southeast Asia, North America, South America, Europe, Australia and other locations. Currently, there are about 7,000 Chinese churches established outside Mainland China. Approximately 1,200 are in Hong Kong, 3,000 in Taiwan, 1,000 in Southeast Asia, 1,300 in USA and Canada, and other 500 in other locations. Before 1966, these Chinese churches outside Mainland China had not thought of sending Chinese missionaries to the other lands to carry out the Great Commission of our Lord.

In 1976, a great global movement began. The Chinese Congress of World Evangelization (CCOWE) was held in Hong Kong in 1976. Rev. Thomas Wang was then elected as the first General Secretary to organize the Chinese Coordination Centre of World Evangelism (CCCOWE), whose purpose is to mobilize all 7,000 Chinese churches outside of China to witness for Christ to the uttermost parts of the world. These 7,000 churches have sent out all together 900 Chinese missionaries. Among them 300 are from Singapore, 200 are from Hong Kong, 200 are from Taiwan, and 200 are from other cities.

The Chinese churches are indeed only beginners. They have to learn from the Korean churches, who have sent out more than 8,000 overseas missionaries. They also have to learn from the Western churches, who have sent out thousands and thousands of overseas missionaries in the past 1,500 years.

II. The Chinese in China

According to the government census, the Christian population in the Mainland China is 20 million; but according to the independent estimate, it is generally accepted that the Christian population in the Mainland China is actually 60 million. If there were 100 Christians in a church, on average, 60 million Christians would mean that there would be 600,000 churches in China.

These 60 million genuine Christians have done the good works of home missions by establishing many branch churches near and far. However, according to my limited knowledge, the churches in the Mainland China have never thought of foreign missions; that is to send Chinese missionaries to the other lands to bring the gospel to the uttermost parts of the world.

How will it be in the coming five, ten, or twenty years? If the vision of world evangelization could be brought to them, these 60 million genuine Christians in 600,000 churches would definitely take part in the foreign missions. If 7,000 Chinese churches outside of the Mainland China can send out 900 Chinese overseas missionaries, how many missionaries can those 60 million genuine Chinese Christians in 600,000 churches send out?

As Peter Wagner said, "The number of Chinese overseas missionaries may be the largest [of any nationality] in the world by the year 2025."

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