Here is an informal list of things that I noticed from reading Chinese Missions History. More than just being an amusing list or common factors that I noticed, I think it can be instructive in our China missions strategy today. Hopefully, they can help us not make the same mistakes as the generations before us and encourage us in the right direction. (I was surprised at how many of these are true for today.)
Notes from Reading Chinese Missions History:
- Some missionaries spoke the language well and others didn’t; it affected the effectiveness of their mission.
- Missionaries were involved in “other jobs” which at times greatly hindered their mission.
- Targeting “average” people versus targeting the “elite” was more effective.
- Many people (missionaries) came, but few stayed for long periods of time.
- Most saw some fruit, but after the missionary left it often didn’t last.
- There was a lack of training leaders; thus, churches in China have always struggled.
- The Chinese adopted Christianity to fit their own culture, often going against the Bible.
- Persecution has always been a problem that comes and goes.
- The government has often been xenophobic–extreme dislike of people from other countries.
- Cults who took on the name of Christianity gave real Christians a bad reputation.
- Missionaries working alongside the government and those with political or business intentions, may have opened doors, but also caused problems.