Tag Archives: Church Planting

Weekly Mind Dump: Renovations

✪ It has been a busy week! The new commercial space we rented needed some fixing up to do, nearly spent the entire week, morning-to-night, working to fix the place up. All the major projects are done, and we are excited about using this as a means to assemble as a church.

✪ I think one of the mistakes I might have made is starting out too cheap or at least staying too cheap. So we are going to try a different route by making things nicer and more family friendly. So our new building reflects those changes.

✪ Of course, with a new building that needs work done, comes with a financial cost. If you are interested in knowing what these costs are and are willing and able to help, please let me know.

✪ If you somehow missed the latest update with our new direction, you can read that post here: At a Crossroads – Direction Known

✪ We are still raising funds to help the church as it grows: $4,800 – First Year’s Rent at $400 a month (Can you give one month’s rent?); $308 – 44 Extra Chairs at $7 each (Can you purchase some chairs?); $150 – Nursery/Kids Tables, Chairs, Furnishings (Can you give?); $1,100 for the house church who had their offerings confiscated.

✪ We are thankful for a new church who financially partnered with us. We are in need of more support if you know of a church who would be interested in supporting a church-planter in mainland China, please pass along our information.

EasySlides – This is Worship Projection software that is free and for those working in China, it includes the Chinese Bible and over 1,000 Chinese song lyrics! Now they just need to make a mac version.

✪ I met with an Australian pastor of an international church here in the city yesterday. They have foreigners and Chinese both attending their church. They are about an hour away from where we are. It was encouraging to see God doing a work there!

✪ Our church has taken many bold steps forward, pray for God’s continued blessings! We are excited about what He is going to do!

✪ Hopefully, I will be able to give more of an update when things slow down here. God bless!

Revisiting “On the Edge”

After I had surrendered to go to China as a missionary, I was taught that one of the ways to reach China was to live in a neighboring country. Our original name for our team strategy wasn’t “Project China,” but “On the Edge”. With recent events, I decided to revisit our original strategy. Here is how we defined ourselves:

What is On the Edge?

– On the Edge is a passion… for the millions living in Communist or former-Soviet nations.
– On the Edge is a team… committed to do whatever it takes to reach them.
– On the Edge is a strategy… to make an impact in China by training leaders outside of China.

Below is a basic summary of some of our ideas:

1. To plant vibrant, missions-hearted churches in _________?

The first stage of the plan involves building a stronghold outside of China from which we can export prepared Chinese laborers.

2. To disciple young men to become passionate leaders.

…Chinese students who are planning to return to their homeland after completing their education. What do you think would happen if these students could be reached for Christ and trained to do the work of the ministry? What if they could be prepared to make an impact when they return to their homes in China? This is the second stage, the very heart of our plan.

Please pray for our training center, which will be the center of all our operations on the border. Pray that God will fill it with students set apart to glorify His name. Pray that He will energize and equip them for His work. And pray that He will help them to make a difference when they return to China with the Gospel.

3. To conduct leaders safely into China.

Importation of trained leaders is the key to reaching China with the Gospel. As we train converts outside China’s borders to be leaders of leaders, we must support them as they return home to preach their Gospel to their own people. The Chinese that are trained for the ministry create much better channels for the Lord to work as they perfectly look, speak, and act Chinese. They will be able to work in underground situations much more secretively than foreign missionaries.

4. To develop means to transport new students to _________?

The greatest strategic challenge that we face is that of getting Chinese converts from mainland China to our training center in _________.

5. To involve American students in the world-plan of God.

God wants to raise from the forces of our churches a capable army mobilized to carry the Gospel to the lost of this world. We want to give every Christian the opportunity to make a personal impact in China.

If you have been burdened for the Chinese people and have been looking for an outlet of service, then I invite you to pray with us for the ministry to the border of _________ and China. We have some great dreams! Come and dream with us!  

Originally, the blank was filled in with Russia, but in today’s world, Russia is not ideal, and it would seem Taiwan would be the best option available. (I think at the time of the original strategy, there was no direct flights from China to Taiwan, but now there is.)

Our original ideas was preparing Chinese pastors out of the country:

Many missionaries are beginning to search for more strategic and effective methods for ministry in China. For On the Edge, this means building an exterior training center to prepare Chinese pastors.

I think there is a lot of truth in the original plan, especially when it comes to being able to “setup a base” to work from. There is a great loss in stability working only in the mainland. I think our original strategy, and what we have learned since then, will lead us into an even more effective strategy.

As we are working these things out and finding your role in all this, one things remains to be true:

Until we have young men and young women of God who are willing to do anything necessary to see God’s name glorified, there will be no city-taking. Until there is a generation willing to suffer, willing to bleed, and willing to die for the glory of God, there will be no conquering of the land God has promised us. We may watch walls fall and doors open, but it is our hearts that determine whether or not the cities of this world will be taken.

All quotes taken from “On the Edge: A Strategy for China in Our Generation”

At a Crossroads – Prayer Needed!

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We are at a crossroads in the ministry. We have some hard decisions to make in the very near future, and we would like to ask for your prayer so we can continue to move forward wisely.

Here is the situation: This past Wednesday morning one of the guys who is training to possibly be a pastor in the future went to the church to study. When he arrived, there were five policemen waiting at the door of the church. Two were in uniform and three were not. They asked about the church, and they all entered together. The looked around asked some questions, told him that they church needs to register with the government, and took a few things small things that had information about the church on them. The police were nice, never said that we had to stop having services, didn’t confiscate anything and their main objection was that we are not registered.

Now, we have seen this situation played out many times. This could lead to a bigger raid by the religious bureau (which is what happened at our other church location when they confiscated the money, took people in for questioning, and told them they couldn’t have services) or it could just be a slap on the hand with no immediate consequences.

I was not there and so they don’t know me, but they do know that there is foreigner leadership in the church. Because of this, I have to believe they will not or can not agree to this and will make a reappearance at the church trying to catch us in the act of leading the church. Also, I was told by another Chinese pastor that the government is currently putting more effort into looking for house churches with foreigner involvement.

Why did they come? Most likely, it was a neighbor that called the police and reported us. I was going to write in the weekly mind dump, that I never got around to, to pray as we are in a new neighborhood, and there is always a chance of a neighbor not liking us or what we are doing. It just so happens, that this seemed to be the case. We think a little old lady reported us (you know the kind that thinks they are the neighborhood watch dog).

Anyways, this is the second time the police have come to one of the churches in our city. Both times I was absent, but they know my Chinese name and that I am involved, but that is it. They don’t actually know who I am.

So this leads us to the question, what is our next step? This is where we need prayer and wisdom.

We can conclude that being caught leading a church will most likely lead to deportation. This is a risk we are willing to take when we first move into a city because there is no church and no men trained, therefore it is our only option if we are wanting to start new local churches in China. But once we have some men trained, should our role change, and if so how? Can we take less risk once we have the ministry going, to stay and work in a training position, but not be the pastor of a church?

Also, currently, in China, the main problem in house churches seems to be foreign leadership. Our friends who were deported left churches who are still meeting at the same locations, same times and continue on without any major problems from the authorities.

So my thinking, at this time, is that if I remove myself from the church, then they can continue on in the same location without any major problems. I am not a threat to the Chinese being thrown in jail, but a threat to myself being deported from the country.

So we are at a crossroads. Here are the different ideas we have come up with:

  • If none of the men that we have been training are willing to step up and lead the church, then we can continue leading the church like normal and let things take its natural course.
  • Abandon the ministry for the sake of being able to stay in the country and start over. (I don’t think this is right and believe I would risk deportation before I abandoned them.)
  • Stop having services for several months and then start-up again when things cool down. (I don’t think this is right either)
  • One of the men that we are training will step up, be the pastor of the church and I will no longer attend regularly or be the pastor of the church, but move into a training position and give the majority of my time to training him and others who want to be pastors. This would allow them to report to the police that in accordance to registration requirements, they no longer have a foreigner as pastor. (What would my family do about going to church in this scenario?)
  • If none of the men that we have been training are willing to step up and lead the church, then we could find another young man who is finishing his training from another ministry to step into the position of pastor and I could continue in the city training him and others that are interested. Possibly, start another church in a different part of the city.
  • We could move the location of the church and chance it in another neighborhood. I would still be the pastor.
  • One of the men that we are training will step up, be the pastor of the church, and I move to Taiwan then make regular trips into the country to continue their training. I would start a church in Taiwan and have a border ministry for the mainland.
  • One of the men that we are training will step up, be the pastor of the church and I move to another city in China and start something new, but also make trips back to this city for continued training.
  • Any combination of the above ideas. (Note: We have guys that are in training, but not are fully ready like we would want.)

The hard part seems to be that if we continue like normal, that it will end in deportation sooner than later, so if that is true, what changes can we make to be effective, but also protect our ability to enter the country for training. Otherwise, if we are deported, we will be limited to training over Skype.

I told the guys here that it would be wise for us to go ahead and make plans now that would protect our ability to stay in the country and continue training, otherwise I could be deported and they would be completely on their own.

It seems that we have been given the opportunity to make a decision for our future. We are assuredly gathering their needs to be changes. Our strategy needs to evolve with the current actions and attitudes of the government toward true Biblical churches.

I asked the guys what we should do and they said, “keep meeting together as a church” so they will continue going forward, but what is our next specific role in all this? We need your prayers.

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China Church Plant Update

An update is finally here! We arrived back in the country on the 3rd of this month, and we are running at full steam. I haven’t written much or been able to put out many updates because of all the changes that are taking place. Our plans seem to keep evolving as we take each step.

I had a post drafted about the next step for our church “Grace” as they were finally going to be moving from renting a restaurant two hours a week to having their own place full-time. Then, since I drafted that post, plans changed again!

Everyone is a little confused on what is going on and which church is doing what (since plans are changing weekly) so this post will, hopefully, clear everything up.

A new direction for the churches: “Gospel B.C.” started on Sunday April 7, 2013 (17 months old). It has been the focal point of the ministry here in the city. The church started with my family and a couple Chinese contacts. It has slowly grown seeing some saved and baptized. “Grace B.C.” started on April 6, 2014 (5 months old) and was birthed out of a Bible study where we saw people getting saved and baptized. Starting this coming Sunday, September 28, 2014, Lord willing, we are going to merge these two small churches into a larger church. Gospel B.C. will be merging into Grace B.C. Therefore, after this Sunday we will only have Grace B.C., and it will be the new focal point of the ministry here.

We have wanted to do this for a long time, but the distance between the churches has kept us from going forward with it. Now, we have found a way to make it possible and we are excited about this new change.

About Dalian Grace Baptist Church: We started hosting preliminary Bible studies in October of 2013 with a group of young people who were 95% unbelievers. After teaching the gospel for several months, we started seeing people saved, baptized, and discipled. Then in 2014 we turned the Bible study into a church because of the distance it was from the other church.

Grace B.C. has never had their own building space. They have always been meeting in restaurants. When they were only a bible study, they rented a pizza place for an hour a week. Then when they became a church, they rented a banquet room in a Chinese restaurant for 2 hours.

The changes started because one of the goals, when we got back, was to find office space to be able to work from on a daily basis for studying and training. (A lot of our manpower is being raised up out of Grace and I wanted to be closer to where they lived. Previously, we were meeting outside or my house for our training time.) We couldn’t find anything suitable or affordable that was considered “official office space,” so we started looking at apartments.

We thought we might be able to find something to use as office space and church meeting space. Long story short, the last apartment we looked at was perfect for what we needed and more. The new location and size of the building we were going to rent started to cause us to think about what else we could change.

Also, since Grace B.C. was only meeting once a week, many of their members were going to the services at Gospel B.C. to get more teaching. At times, there would be more Grace people there than Gospel. This signified something needed to be changed.

The following thoughts led us to merge the two churches together:

  • Location: The new location helps meet the needs of both places. Even though, it is still considered “far” for those coming from the other part of town, we will no longer be renting a building over there and can help with the cost of their transportation.
  • Manpower: The lack of full-time manpower; I am the only one that is full-time now, therefore, I can only spend the majority of my time in one place. As a result one place was growing more than the other. On the other hand, we do have the manpower to take the church to the next level, since it isn’t only me serving now.
  • Training: We have a few young men who are considering full-time ministry. They are all from the same part of town. So I set up office in that part of town so I can be around and start training them more. We are slowly moving towards becoming a training center.
  • Fruit: We see more fruit in one part of town than the other. There could be many reasons for this, but we want to focus more of our time and efforts to where the harvest is.
  • Services: Gospel was meeting twice a week, Sunday night and Thursday night. Grace was meeting once a week on Sunday morning, for Sunday School and Worship. We weren’t able to start more at each location because of workers, but now that the churches are one, they will meet three times a week, Sunday morning for Sunday School and Worship, Sunday Night and Wednesday Night.
  • Culture: We have tried to figure out the culture of the city and see how expensive or cheap things should be done so it can be reproduced. We have started out the cheaper route but we are seeing we can do things nicer than before (and it goes with the culture of the city), so we are trying to go that route and make things more officially “churchish”.

How can you help? I am glad you asked!

As this young church takes a step of faith, we want to ask if you are willing to help through prayer and giving.

Will you choose at least one day a week to pray for Dalian Grace Baptist Church? If so, leave the day in the comments!

Will you be willing to give any amount to help this church go forward over the next year:

  • $4,800 – First Year’s Rent at $400 a month. (Can you give one month’s rent?)
  • $480 – 120 Bibles at $4.00 each. (Purchased!)
  • $308 – 44 Extra Chairs at $7 each.
  • $150 – Nursery/Kids Tables, Chairs, Furnishings.

Please sent all donations to Vision Baptist Missions, P.O. Box 442, Alpharetta, GA 30009 and write Dalian Grace Baptist Church in the memo.

Thank you in advance for praying and giving. We know that you will be a blessing as you always are. We couldn’t do this without the supporters like we have! God bless!