Based on Erik Burklin of China Associate, “One of the rules that have always been in their law is that you cannot proselytize or you cannot convert somebody under the age of 18.” Though the legislation already existed, it has now been extra intensively enforced.
Earlier than the legislation was enforced, “People were having their children come to church and many churches started what we would call Sunday school classes,” Burklin says. “They would use that time to teach children Bible verses and teach them Christian songs and so forth.”
Now, nevertheless, “Many churches have been notified by Religious Affairs Bureau heads that you can no longer conduct Sunday school classes in your churches. They even put signage up in the entrance of some churches to indicate that.”
For China Associate, that is problematic. In any case, their YouthServe ministry initiative trains “church leaders to conduct youth ministry sessions for teenagers for anywhere between the age of 13 to 18 before they go on to university,” Burklin says.
As they have been conducting youth ministry coaching in China throughout a current journey, they have been approached by pastors that they had labored with for years. “They specifically came back to us saying, ‘Please, we can no longer invite you to come and do these youth ministry trainings for us because we need to adhere to this new enforcement of this law,’” Burklin studies.
With a purpose to respect and defend their native companions, China Associate has determined to discontinue their YouthServe initiative. Burklin says it might return sooner or later, however for now, it’s in the very best curiosity of their companions in the event that they shut it down.
Shedding the subsequent era of believers?
This may be a blow to any group of believers, since younger individuals characterize the subsequent era of potential Christian leaders, however it’s particularly tough for the Chinese language Church. Though most Chinese language congregations have “a young people’s fellowship,” Burklin says that “when you attend those meetings, you noticed that there are many people there all the way up to the age of 50 that come to these meetings.”
Meaning the Chinese language Church goes to want to pursue inventive options to a really actual drawback. “One of the ways that we have learned also that we can reach that age group is through the parents,” Burklin says. “As we’ve started these marriage retreats and couples’ counseling sessions, [we’ve noticed that] many of these young couples have teenagers in their home.”
On the finish of the day, no guidelines prohibit God or what He can do. China Associate desires to cooperate with their native companions to make sure safety and collaboration, they usually do have plans to pursue different avenues of coaching and ministry. Test in with us tomorrow if you wish to find out how they’re responding to tightened restrictions and what these restrictions truly appear to be. You too can examine China Associate’s work proper right here.
Within the meantime, pray for peace and knowledge for the Chinese language Church and that God would contact the hearts of younger individuals even when the native Church can’t attain out to them.
Header photograph courtesy of China Associate.