Signals of the Coming Kingdom: A Letter of Encouragement

Editor’s note: This year, China Partnership is praying for the church in China to hold fast. In the fall of 2022, we spoke with Chinese house church leaders and asked them how the global church can pray for and support them in 2023. They specifically asked that we pray that they would hold fast to Christ and to his promises in the midst of pressure, persecution, and uncertainty.

They also asked for encouragement. In 2023, we will be periodically publishing letters of encouragement to the church in China from the global church. We hope these letters will remind Chinese Christians that they are not alone or forgotten, but that around the world, their brothers and sisters in Christ care and pray for them regularly. We invite you to join us as we labor in love and prayer for the church in China.


To the people of God in the land of China –

What an honor to write you now, in the midst of these days of trouble and promise. It often feels that much is set against the coming of the Kingdom, but there persists a thread of hope that is always woven through the darkest of days. We must not forget that though Jesus’ Kingdom is opposed, she is not overcome. We must not forget that the Lion is on the throne, and as C.S. Lewis reminded us, “He is no tame lion.”

We must not forget that though Jesus’ Kingdom is opposed, she is not overcome.

Jesus is coming after the darkness.

All across the world, there are signals of the coming Kingdom. A revival is breaking out in Iran that rivals what was witnessed in the early days of the church. More Muslim people have come to faith in the last twenty years than in the 1,400 previous years of Islam combined. In the past century, the gospel has radically moved across the continent of Africa which is now home to more than 681 million Christians. And, as many of you dear brothers and sisters know so well, no place in the world over the past 40 years has experienced more significant growth than the church in China.

Even in the West, which continues to witness a post-Christian movement, there are signs of new life. There is a longing for more than the consumeristic faith that could not satisfy our souls. Our people are hungry for the things of God. There is a prayer revival stirring. And while many churches are dying here, we remain steadfast, because death has always been the pathway for the Kingdom of God to take new form. A new movement is coming.

Make no mistake, my brothers and sisters, life will win.

Until then, remember:

You are not forgotten.

Your family around the world is contending for you in the secret places and our inspired intercession flows out of God’s heart for you and from our deep respect for your faith. We know you have suffered much and that these statistics don’t take away pain. We know that your losses and limits are real and that you long for the day when all things will be made new. We join you in that longing and we stand with you as you walk your path with courage and conviction. Jesus, please help your church to remember that we are not alone!


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Your family around the world is contending for you in the secret places and our inspired intercession flows out of God’s heart for you and from our deep respect for your faith.


Would You Pray With Us Today?

Sign up to receive our weekly prayer emails with requests for the house church in China

You are not powerless.

The same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead now lives in you. One of the greatest weapons at your disposal is the power of forgiveness. When you are struck, the world expects you to strike back. But the world has no idea what to do with people who forgive when they have every right to fight. Forgiveness is so powerful because it robs evil of its strength and vigor. It disarms the falsely powerful of this present age and re-seats authority with those who have taken on the ways of Christ. Forgiveness is gentle but it is fierce. The deep power that allowed Jesus to say on the cross, “Father, forgive them, because they don’t know what they’re doing,” is the same power that is present in every disciple of Jesus in this world. Jesus, give your church the strength to forgive and to rise up with Holy Spirit power!

One of the greatest weapons at your disposal is the power of forgiveness. When you are struck, the world expects you to strike back. But the world has no idea what to do with people who forgive when they have every right to fight.

And friends, be assured of this –

There is a day coming when there will be no more persecution.

There is a day coming when there will be no more prisons, or corrupt systems that put people there.

There is a day coming when you will worship the Father in full voice standing shoulder to shoulder with the people of God from around the world.

There is a day coming when your families will be reunited, your homes will be safe, and Jesus will be recognized as King.

Dear friends, there is a day coming.

Until that day, “may God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. (1 Thess. 5:23-24)


Chris Shelby is pastor for Kingdom Expansion at The Hills church in Fort Worth, Texas.

Pray that, because of the hope of the coming kingdom, Chinese Christians will hold fast to forgiveness.

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Further Reading

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Qingdao: Locals and Outsiders
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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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