The Hong Kong Conference – A Once-In-A-Lifetime Experience

Jeff Kyle first went to China in the summer of 2004 and has been working with the China Partnership since graduating from Covenant College in 2006. He is passionate about US churches developing a global-local missions strategy. Jeff and his family live in New York City.

If you work with Christians in China, there are moments when you realize that what you are experiencing is remarkable and possibly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. For me, that moment came in May 2014 at a conference in Hong Kong for Chinese pastors.

I have worked with China for the past ten years and I have come to see just how different it is to be a Christian in the US and in China. In the United States, Christians have ample opportunities to attend conferences, concerts, etc. We take our freedom of religion for granted and do not think twice about attending a large conference. The Chinese do not have this opportunity. They are mindful of how many people attend their gatherings. They realize government authorities could disrupt them at any moment.

The church in China has struggled historically with trust. During a tumultuous century in China, people had legitimate reasons not to trust one another. This, however, is a major roadblock to the spread of the gospel. Jesus prayed that the world would know him by our love, and if the Chinese church is fragmented and incapable of working together, it presents an incomplete gospel.

We are humbled that God has used us to help pastors and churches regain that trust. China Partnership tries to balance our work between trainings, coaching, conferences, and retreats. We want the pastors and church leaders we work with to develop community, trust, and respect for one another. They have a shared theological vision and are committed to each other’s success. They have a vision for their communities, cities, and country. 

For several years leading up to the 2014 conference, we trained church leaders in cities across China. We knew that to further catalyze the work, a national conference would give people a national perspective and vision. It is easy when planting a church or working within a city to develop tunnel vision. The opportunities and challenges of our context can easily overwhelm and demand all of our attention; however, a natural overflow of gospel renewal in our hearts is to be outward facing. We wanted pastors to see there are others like them in different cities working toward the same goals. 

I had the privilege of being on the planning team for the conference. We were thrilled to have over 1,500 Chinese leaders come from all over China. We invited Tim Keller to speak five times as one of our plenary speakers and had five Chinese pastors speak on the same topics he addressed, but from a Chinese perspective. 

I was running around during the conference, but knew I needed to take the time to enjoy some of the sessions as an attendee myself. During one time of worship, I had that experience of realizing just how amazing this event was. As I looked around and heard people worshiping in Chinese, led by a Chinese worship team, and surrounded by Chinese Christians from over one hundred cities, my eyes filled with tears and I felt immense joy. We were giving these leaders an opportunity to freely worship together, and to focus their minds and hearts on the gospel. Seeing their joy and their celebration was more than enough for me.

We knew leading into this conference that it would be a catalytic event and that afterwards we would face an increased demand for training from new cities. We prepared for that demand by training pastors to become trainers with us and were able to meet that demand when it came.

My greatest joy in my job is that I am supporting Chinese in their own work. There is still a role for pioneering missions from the West, but that is no longer the case in China. The Chinese church has grown throughout the past century and it is time for our role as Americans to move into a support and partnership. We need to empower them, send them out, and encourage them in that journey.


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This new role of servant partnership can feel like an affront to the individualistic pull within me. But there really is so much joy when you pass the baton to the next person. China Partnership is humbled to see the baton being carried by our brothers and sisters in China as we take on the role of encourager and supporter.

We are planning another national conference in May 2017 and are praying for those who attend to remain grounded in the gospel and continue pressing forward, united in their shared commitment. I will once again be incredibly busy leading up to and during the conference. But I will make sure to take time to engage as a participant in order to be reminded of the satisfaction of being an encourager and servant partner.   

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LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA

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.

WILL YOU JOIN US IN PRAYING FOR LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA? PRAY FOR:

  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

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ABOUT LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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