The Church Is the Mission

Editor’s note: Wang Jianguo is the collective pseudonym for a group of Chinese house church pastors thinking about writing about issues related to the spread of Christianity in their nation. They are committed to preaching a grace-centered gospel, developing resources for the church, and loving China’s urban centers.

The following was written in preparation for China Partnership’s break out session last week at The Gospel Coalition’s 2019 National Conference. Unfortunately, the recording of the session cannot be made public due to security concerns. But we are excited to share the following essay with you. The author is a Chinese house church pastor who has been ministering in northeast China for more than twenty years. 

The church is not the result of missions, but it is the mission. Jesus said he would build his church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. This power is not found in fellowship alone, nor in small groups, but rather in his body – the church.

Why church planting is the most immediate need in China?

First, urbanization. China’s urbanization has been very fast, and people continue to immigrate to the city every day. Before the 80s, 20% of Chinese were in cities; that number reached 50% in 2016 and nearly 60% in 2018. Everybody knows that China is the most populous country in the world. Every year, thousands and thousands of people move to Chinese cities. They are strangers in the city; they need the gospel. The church is the household of God. It is very important to plant churches to serve these misplaced strangers looking for a home.

Never miss a story

Sign up to receive our weekly email with our original articles.

Second, culture. Right now, we are experiencing a most important turning point in Chinese culture. Marxism came from the West. It has destroyed most of Chinese tradition. Most Chinese people have not believed in communism. At present, this is a key part of China’s spiritual emptiness. This era’s current need is for the gospel to renew the hearts of the people through the church, transforming the community, and impacting the entire country. It is not about individual salvation, but life as the family of God – a gospel community.

Third, the future. China’s influence in the world will become bigger and bigger. It will be a good influence or a bad influence, depending on the influence of the church. If more healthy churches are planted, it will not only transform Chinese society, but also the world. The Christian population continues to grow in China, but it cannot continue to grow until it commits to healthy churches. Planting churches will transform the city and the country, and then the world.

More and more believers in the Chinese house church feel that God has called the Chinese church to bless the world, not only China. Yet when you look at the Chinese church today, you find that the quantity of believers is large, but the quality is very week. Many churches still live according to a legalistic culture and it is difficult for them to participate in cross-cultural missions. Mission is just a slogan that draws the attention of Western churches. 

Currently, three to five people in my church were former missionaries. They used to go to Tibet and various Muslim countries, but they were hurt by the mission. This is because the church that sent them is not mature and operates out of a ministry-driven, human need-centered mission. Therefore, I believe that only when the church is renewed by the gospel and lives in the gospel, can it begin to send missionaries. 

The Chinese can go to places where many Americans cannot go, and our experience with persecution will bless unreached people groups. For me personally, my second language is Russian. So, I often led mission teams to work in the countries of the former Soviet Union. As a result, I understand that China is not the most seriously persecuted country. We are responsible to spread the gospel to more places to influence the world. 

There are three ways the American church can bless the Chinese churches.

1) Pray, pray, and continue to pray for China. China Partnership provides daily prayer requests via text message. Participate in receiving these prayer requests! Invite a Chinese pastor or missionary to share in your church’s prayer meetings. Persecution cannot stop the prayers of God’s people. Wherever you are in China or America – in church or at home or in jail – you can pray.

2) Provide the true seed of the biblical gospel to the Chinese around you. Chinese students are the largest number of international students in the United States. 34% international students are from China. And they are the future leaders of China. You can do missions to China at home.

The former Russian communist leader, Vladimir Lenin, once said that in order to convert China into a communist country they needed to begin not only in China but also in France. This was because at that time many Chinese went to France to study and do business there. So, the Russian communists began to impact the Chinese both inside of China and in France. Many influential Chinese communist leaders converted to communism in China such as Chen Duxiu, Li Dazhao, and Mao Zedong. But many were educated and converted to communism in France, such as Zhou Enlai (former Prime Minister), Deng Xiaoping (the economic reformer), Chen Yi (a Foreign Minister), and Nie Rongzhen (one of the Ten Marshals).

As Hudson Taylor, the China Inland Mission founder, said, “If I had a thousand pounds China should have it. If I had a thousand lives, China should have them. No! Not China, but Christ.”

3) You can partner with China Partnership. They can tell you about the gospel movement in China. Likewise, support the families of church planters, come alongside of them and coach them. And give encouragement to the persecuted churches in China.


Want to stay updated?

China Partnership helps bring the voice of the Chinese church to the world. Subscribe to receive weekly prayer guides and monthly newsletters.

Share This Story

Further Reading

Nanjing: Bringing the Gospel Into Life
Read More
Nanjing: A Welcoming City of Newcomers
Read More
Nanjing: A Relational Gospel
Read More


With rising pressure and persecution in China, there are two challenges imperative for church leaders. The first challenge is for current leaders to love Christ above all else, and not to stray into legalism or love of the world. The second challenge is to raise up the next generation of leaders, who will humbly model Jesus even if current leaders are arrested.


  1. Current leaders to grow in their daily walks with Christ
  2. Current leaders to shepherd and raise up new leaders
  3. New leaders who love Christ and will model him to the world
  4. New leaders to love and care for the church



About Shenyang

Shenyang is a city located in northeastern China and is the capital of Liaoning Province. It is known for its rich history and cultural heritage, including the Shenyang Imperial Palace, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Shenyang is also a hub for China’s heavy industry, with companies such as the China First Automobile Group and the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation having their headquarters in the city.


Stories from Shenyang

About Qingdao

Qingdao is a city located in eastern China and is famous for its beaches, beer, and seafood. The city is home to several landmarks, including the Zhanqiao Pier and the Badaguan Scenic Area. Qingdao is also a major port and has a thriving economy, with industries such as electronics, petrochemicals, and machinery.


Stories from Qingdao

About Xiamen

Xiamen is a city located in southeastern China and is a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful coastal scenery, including Gulangyu Island, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city is also a hub for China’s high-tech industry, with companies such as Huawei and ZTE having research and development centers in Xiamen.


Stories from Xiamen

About Chongqing

Chongqing is a city located in southwestern China and is a major economic center in the region. The city is known for its spicy cuisine, especially its hot pot dishes, and is also famous for the Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydroelectric dam. Chongqing is also home to several historic sites, including the Dazu Rock Carvings, which are UNESCO World Heritage sites.


Stories from Chongqing

About Nanjing

Nanjing is a city located in eastern China and is the capital of Jiangsu Province. It is one of China’s ancient capitals and has a rich cultural history, including the Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum, the Nanjing City Wall, and the Confucius Temple. Nanjing is also a modern city with a thriving economy and is home to several universities, including Nanjing University and Southeast University.


Stories from Nanjing

About Changchun

Changchun is a city located in northeastern China and is the capital of Jilin Province. It is known for its rich cultural heritage and is home to several historical landmarks such as the Puppet Emperor’s Palace and the Jingyuetan National Forest Park. Changchun is also a hub for China’s automotive industry, with several major automobile manufacturers having their headquarters in the city.


Stories from Changchun

About Guangzhou

Guangzhou, also known as Canton, is a city located in southern China and is the capital of Guangdong Province. It is one of the country’s largest and most prosperous cities, serving as a major transportation and trading hub for the region. Guangzhou is renowned for its modern architecture, including the Canton Tower and the Guangzhou Opera House, as well as its Cantonese cuisine, which is famous for its variety and bold flavors. The city also has a rich history, with landmarks such as the Chen Clan Ancestral Hall, the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, and the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees. Additionally, Guangzhou hosts the annual Canton Fair, the largest trade fair in China.


Stories from Guangzhou

About Kunming

Kunming is a city located in southwest China and is the capital of Yunnan Province. Known as the “City of Eternal Spring” for its mild climate, Kunming is a popular tourist destination due to its natural beauty and cultural diversity. The city is home to several scenic spots, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Stone Forest, Dian Lake, and the Western Hills. Kunming is also famous for its unique cuisine, which features a mix of Han, Yi, and Bai ethnic flavors. The city has a rich cultural history, with ancient temples and shrines like the Yuantong Temple and the Golden Temple, and it’s also a hub for Yunnan’s ethnic minority cultures, such as the Yi and Bai peoples.


Stories from Kunming

About Shenzhen

Shenzhen is a city located in southeastern China and is one of the country’s fastest-growing metropolises. The city is renowned for its thriving tech industry, with companies such as Huawei, Tencent, and DJI having their headquarters in Shenzhen. The city also has a vibrant cultural scene, with numerous museums, art galleries, and parks. Shenzhen is also known for its modern architecture, such as the Ping An Finance Center and the Shenzhen Bay Sports Center. Despite its modernization, Shenzhen also has a rich history and cultural heritage, with landmarks such as the Dapeng Fortress and the Chiwan Tin Hau Temple.


Stories from Shenzhen

About Chengdu

Chengdu is a city located in the southwestern region of China, and the capital of Sichuan province. It has a population of over 18 million people, and it is famous for its spicy Sichuan cuisine, laid-back lifestyle, and its cute and cuddly residents – the giant pandas. Chengdu is home to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, where visitors can observe these adorable creatures in their natural habitat. The city also boasts a rich cultural heritage, with numerous temples, museums, and historical sites scattered throughout its boundaries. Chengdu is a city of contrasts, with ancient traditions coexisting alongside modern developments, making it an intriguing and fascinating destination for visitors to China. 


Stories from Chengdu

About Beijing

Beijing is the capital city of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of over 21 million people. The city has a rich history that spans over 3,000 years, and it has served as the capital of various dynasties throughout China’s history. Beijing is home to some of the most iconic landmarks in China, including the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and the Temple of Heaven. The city is also a hub for political, cultural, and educational activities, with numerous universities and research institutions located within its boundaries. Beijing is renowned for its traditional architecture, rich cuisine, and vibrant cultural scene, making it a must-visit destination for travelers to China.


Stories from Beijing

About Shanghai

Shanghai is a vibrant and dynamic city located on the eastern coast of China. It is the largest city in China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of over 24 million people. Shanghai is a global financial hub and a major center for international trade, with a rich history and culture that spans over 1,000 years. The city is famous for its iconic skyline, which features towering skyscrapers such as the Oriental Pearl Tower and the Shanghai Tower. Shanghai is also home to a diverse culinary scene, world-class museums and art galleries, and numerous shopping districts. It is a city that is constantly evolving and reinventing itself, making it a fascinating destination for visitors from around the world.


Stories from Shanghai


A short message about partnering with us.