Amazing Growth in China
Christian Aid began helping Bible institutes in China in 1992
Classrooms are filled to capacity. New Christians are eager to learn the Word of God so they can share their faith with others. Some will become Bible school teachers.
Through Christian Aid supporters many Bible institutes have been launched throughout China. In 1992 two indigenous Bible schools received support and today, steady contributions from Christian Aid supporters have resulted in 50+ active training schools, at least one in every province!
China director, Dr. Freddie Sun, travels all over China every year to visit some of the schools Christian Aid is assisting. He monitors, evaluates and reports on their progress, as well as finding any special needs that should be considered. Each of these schools provides discipleship training for 25 to 200 students a year. Following are examples of the quality and dedication that you might expect to find.
The Bible school in Handan, Hebei Province
This is one of the first schools Christian Aid began helping in 1992. Today it is among the best. They now have an enrollment of 135 students who are divided into two levels – a one-year term and a two-year term. Discipleship training begins with prayer every morning at 5:00 a.m. The training focuses primarily on evangelism. Over the past 16 years, hundreds of graduates have been trained and sent back to their home towns in several different provinces. Some of them start their own discipleship training centers which, in turn, train local workers and tentmakers. With this kind of multi-level training and expansion, it is conceivable that thousands of new workers can be trained in one year.
Antioch Mission Seminary
This is one of the newer schools being assisted by Christian Aid. It is the first missions seminary to exist in China. For the past two years Christian Aid supporters have been helping them get started. Their vision and burden is to reach Muslims, Tibetans and other tribal groups located in the northwest and southwest parts of China. The school admits students who have already gone to a Bible school and who live in any of the 14 provinces located in this area.
The school’s program is unique. Four months are spent in studying the Bible, theology, missiology, church planting, preaching, pastoral skills, counseling, teaching and other related subjects. The next two months are spent in gaining experience in evangelism. These cycles are repeated over and over for four years, until graduation. At the present time they have 35 students enrolled.
This seminary is strategically located in the mid-western region -- an area very hostile to Christians where leaders have been tested. They are praying for additional help so that more missionaries can be prepared to reach these lost souls for Christ.
Every morning before sunrise many Bible schools begin the day with prayer.
Antioch Seminary is an "underground" Bible school. This means they are not approved by the communist government. It also means that they cannot operate openly as do those associated with the Three Self Church.
The Three Self Church is purported to be a Christian church, but it is more often a “window display” to the world implying religious freedom. Bible believing, born-again Christians with a burden to fulfill the Great Commission are generally not acceptable. But there are some exceptions: Humanitarian efforts made by Christians are tolerated under some circumstances.
The "aboveground" school
In Fujian Province there is a ten story building, part of which is used as a nursing home and infirmary operated by Christians. The first two or three stories are used to take care of the sick and the elderly. Those who are unable to walk have to be carried up the stairs because there is no elevator.
When the local officials visited the home they climbed the stairs to inspect everything and then commended the staff for the excellent humanitarian work they were doing. But they only went as far as the third floor! If they had gone up to the top five floors they would have discovered dormitories, classrooms and young students bustling with life and activity.
Trainees become teachers
By the grace of God, and with help from Christian Aid supporters, students are graduating from these colleges, training centers and seminaries well equipped to impart wisdom, leadership and deeper spirituality to their disciples. Many of these disciples will become teachers themselves or they will serve as missionaries, church planters or pastors.
Increased numbers and increased quality
Better Facilities. In the past, schools run by underground house churches did not have adequate buildings and were secretly operating out of rented houses or empty, unheated factories.
Because of China’s bourgeoning growth of house churches, the need for Bible teachers also grew.
Not only were they vulnerable to spies, they had no control over the facilities. They could not remodel to suit their needs for a proper school environment.
Today, with help from faithful Christian Aid supporters, many new facilities have been built.
Better Teachers. The majority of Bible schools assisted by Christian Aid have teachers who either graduated from their own Bible schools or a theological seminary. Many of them have suffered for Christ.
Better Curriculum. While they still offer basic training for missionaries and local church workers, some of the schools are now able to offer seminary-level (including a Master’s Degree) courses for those wishing to further their Christian education. For these students, New Testament Greek and Old Testament Hebrew are being taught.
Systematic theology, apologetics, pastoral theology, and missiology are also part of the curriculum.
Better Opportunities. Many of the larger schools assisted by Christian Aid are also operating satellite training centers in surrounding towns and villages. They also offer night courses for those who are unable to attend full-time.
Better Materials. Every student entering into a school or training program is given a Bible, textbooks, study sheets and outlines. They also have access to copy machines, computers and up-to-date software. Their only lack at this time is well equipped libraries.