Our Vision for America: Churches as Representative of the Final Chapter

Before Jesus ascended to heaven, he proclaimed the Great Commission. This was not a command to the super talented and gifted, but rather to the Church, his bride, and he intended for all to see themselves as being a part of it. God has always been on mission and he continues his work through the Church. Churches generally try to engage their congregations with missions and traditionally this takes the form of asking all to participate either by going or sending. This has inadvertently created a gap between those sent out and those providing prayer and financial support. While the work it takes to send is encouraged and praised, it often seems like the “real” work happens overseas, creating a dichotomy between those who go and the rest of the church.

As missionaries have raised support, spoken in churches, and headlined conferences throughout the past century, an inadvertent consequence has been the professionalization of missions. Congregants watch as people take great steps of faith to go to the uttermost parts of the world preparing to evangelize, disciple, and train leaders, and what often occurs is either feelings of inadequacy for not having the gifts to go or feelings of satisfaction in knowing that someone else is taking up the call. The majority of people believe themselves to be responsible only for writing checks, rather than seeing themselves as called to be active participants.

The world is very different today. Global travel to remote places can happen in 24 hours.  Global communication can happen with the press of a button. The global church is more established today that it has ever been before. Because of these realities, the focus of the western church needs to shift from simply going to the rest of the world to a focus on how we can come alongside and partner with our worldwide brothers and sisters as they reach their communities and enter countries closed to Americans.

According to research highlighted by J.D. Payne in his book Strangers Next Door: Immigration, Migration, and Mission, the result of changing global realities is that America now has the third highest number of unreached people groups living within its borders. Immigrants continue arriving in the United States each year, both documented and undocumented, and therefore churches should be looking to their cities and neighborhoods to find out which ethic groups are present. It isn’t immediately obvious to every American churchgoer that not all Latinos are Mexican or all Asians Korean. We need to find out who lives in our cities.

A global-local missions strategy encourages churches to make global connections that also make sense locally. Churches now have the opportunity to look to their local environment to help determine how to do missions when choosing global regions and countries to partner with. Let’s imagine a church has found there to be pockets of Mexican, Honduran, Iraqi, Pakistani, Ukrainian, Chinese, and Filipino people in their city.  With a global-local missions strategy, this church now has a paradigm for reaching those people groups both in their local neighborhoods and internationally in their home countries.

At the China Partnership, we want churches to be the best partners possible with the Chinese church globally, but to do so requires more than just yearly short-term missions trips.  It requires churches that genuinely love Chinese people locally and therefore are ready to love them globally as well. If a church is going to fully engage in missions, it needs to help each congregant see how he or she is part of the grand narrative.  Christians need to see how their careers, social networks, and where they live, work, and play fit in with the Great Commission.  A global-local missions strategy helps each congregant connect with the Great Commission as people are encouraged to reach their community’s ethnically diverse neighbors, coworkers, business owners, and students.

If a church learns how to dialogue with and befriend different people groups locally, they will be much better partners globally. Missions trips that happen out of global-local connections will be more informed and effective as they involve people who already have some understanding of the people they engage. For example, American Christians traveling to China will not need to ask if the Chinese can buy Bibles or if they face persecution. Americans traveling to China will be better able to engage on matters relating more directly to the experiences of the Chinese and will be more equipped to partner with their church.

This paradigm change in missions needs to occur.  The church needs to move beyond the single focus of sending globally to a multidimensional global-local perspective. The statistics demand this change. For example, Caucasian births were no longer a clear majority in 2012 and the Latino and Asian populations in the US will double in the next twenty years. The United States is becoming an increasingly global country; therefore, our churches must embrace the diversity around us by learning to engage, interact, and develop friendships with our neighbors.

Global-local missions will prepare the American church for the closing chapter of the narrative we become a part of when we claim Christ as our Savior.  In the end, Revelation 7:9 tells us that all nations, tribes, peoples, and languages will be standing before the throne of God.  If we believe the Bible is God’s Word to us, then this final chapter in the grand narrative should encourage and push us out into the world as active participants of God’s mission among the nations – globally and locally.

Join us in reshaping the vocabulary, strategies, and paradigms for missions currently used in the United States so that they accurately reflect the grand narrative of the gospel and the current demographic opportunities in America today. The call of the Great Commission is no longer simply to travel across the ocean. The world has come to us.


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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 wife, Mary Elizabeth, live in New York City.

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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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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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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. 

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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.

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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.

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Stories from Shanghai

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