“Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out to preach.” Mark 3:14
“After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go.” Luke 10:1
“And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful [people] who will be able to teach others also.” 2 Timothy 2:2
“Pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” Matthew 9:38
Though fully capable of extraordinary ministry by themselves, Jesus and Paul set an example for us to follow: They multiplied themselves by mobilizing others to participate in the work of the gospel.
Likewise, I often say that we do two things: Ministry to Chinese, and mobilization of others to serve God among the Chinese. In both endeavors, of course, we rely upon God’s Spirit to work in people’s hearts. We are only instruments in His hands.
Three Methods of Mobilization
As with our ministry to Chinese, so our efforts at mobilization fall into three categories: Prayer, publications, and personal relationships.
Jesus told us to pray that God would thrust forth workers into the harvest field. Our first and highest priority, therefore, is to pray, and to enlist and equip others to pray, for God to multiply our efforts. To this end, I send out these monthly prayer letters, which usually focus on one theme, and weekly email prayer updates, which include the latest news. Almost every week, I include a quote from someone who is connected to us, both Christians and seekers.
Each letter concludes with an appeal for prayer. This not just a pro forma nod towards standard missionary piety. No, I fully believe that God answers the prayers of his people. This is a mystery, but we know it “works.” Over the past forty-two years, we have seen countless examples of how God loves to respond to our intercessions with His action.
In addition to prayer letters, I rely on books and articles on our web sites (and other platforms) to enlist and equip Christians for ministry among Chinese.
Reaching Chinese Worldwide contains basic principles and practical guidelines for effective witness to Chinese in Asia and the West. A twenty-page section on Resources at the end of the book directs readers to an array of sources of information and platforms for service. China: Ancient Culture, Modern Society, co-written with Dr. Peter Yu, is still the only book that describes both the traditional Chinese culture and modern society. It’s meant provide you with a brief introduction to “all you really need to know” to understand Chinese people in order to serve them well.
Other books, like the Greek-Chinese Lexicon that I am revising, help pastors to proclaim the Word of God more faithfully.
The many book reviews at Global China Center and follow-up articles at Reaching Chinese Worldwide give readers access to the knowledge and experience of scholars and experienced practitioners from around the world and across the centuries. The stories about missionaries and Chinese Christians on the Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Christianity offer concrete examples of those who have effectively proclaimed Christ by word and deed. These accounts also motivate others to follow in their footsteps.
Prayers and publications are not enough, however. Jesus and Paul also spent time with a few people whom they believed could carry on their ministry. By telephone, visits, and email, I try to encourage not only the twenty people connected with China Institute and Global China Center, but others who are actively involved in ministry among Chinese both in the West and in Asia. I treasure each relationship and am richly blessed by each communication with them.
Please pray that God would use our prayers, publications, and personal relationships to enlist, equip, and encourage many more Christians to serve as witnesses of Christ among the Chinese.