Ross and Christine Paterson's Blog

Reflections from Our Journey

Month: September 2019

Crossing Cultures 101

We have just launched our most recent course Crossing Cultures 101! It’s free to complete and consists of 3 online modules with several lessons in each, to be completed in your own time.

This is the course we wish we could have done before starting our missionary journeys - and, after learning a lot of things the hard way, it’s the course we would recommend to you!

Crossing Cultures 101, as the name suggests, is a very basic introduction to the subject of what it takes to move into a new culture and thrive there. In a sense it is so basic that it will probably raise more questions than it answers. But that might just be helpful! Better to start having the conversation before you go than to be shocked when you get there by issues you were not expecting.

We know from personal experience that having sufficient support and training is vital to thriving on the mission field. Our concern is that across the world, there are many who are setting off without those very things. This course won’t give specific help for adjusting to the actual culture you are moving to, but it will give a lot of general principles that will apply in any crossing-culture experience.

We think there are three different groups that would benefit from doing this course…

Firstly, those who feel called to go and are just beginning to research their way to finding out what is involved. I’d like to think this course would give you the basics and cover, with broad brushstrokes, the things you need to know as you begin to embark on this journey.

Secondly, those who have already set out on the journey and are discovering, perhaps the hard way, that there are a whole host of things you had not thought about before you left. For your encouragement, both Ross and I started out this way, with no cultural training, and we at separate times had to learn everything the hard way. We wish there had been a course like this that we could have done back in the day! It certainly would have helped.

And thirdly, our target is the churches that are sending folk out – for those churches to know, if they don’t already, what it takes to support those they send out well. If you fit the role of a sender rather than a go-er, you may prefer to skip the first two modules and focus only on the third. But on the other hand, doing the first two modules might also help you understand what those who have gone out are experiencing when they go through culture shock, for example, not knowing what has hit them. Finding that this is a normal part of the process of cultural adaptation will help mitigate the concern you might otherwise feel as you hear about their struggles. They will need your understanding to help them push through and come out reasonably intact the other side!

So that’s it - three modules, about 13 lessons in total, taking only about six hours to complete! There are other free courses on the site that you can also sign up for (go to: https://courses.fieldpartner.org/courses), and more will added in time. We will be there in support as well, and, in addition, we’d love to see fellow students form a cohort amongst themselves, providing mutual support and encouragement.

If you are reading this and you fit any of the categories mentioned above, I’d like to invite you to sample the course and give us your feedback in the box below. Or, if you know anyone else to whom it might apply, please forward the link to them as well.

Thank you for your interest and welcome to FieldPartner!

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5 needs of the Chinese Church Today

Jackson Wu (吴荣) wrote an article entitled “The 5 Most Pressing Needs of the Chinese Church”. These needs are listed below and we need to be praying about them. As the great missionary to China Hudson Taylor said: “The power of prayer has never been tried to its full capacity. If we want to see mighty wonders of divine power and grace wrought in the place of weakness, failure and disappointment, let us answer God’s standing challenge, ‘Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not!’” These five areas of need are places of “weakness, failure and disappointment”; so we need to pray for them.

Need #1. Theological Training

“First, Chinese believers need theological training. While various local training centers exist around the country, most of them lack academically qualified teachers that can provide them with advanced training needed to interact with difficult passages, issues, and worldviews relevant to their ministry… At most, pastors memorize standard formulations without understanding how to interpret the Bible for themselves. Many materials... are merely translated from Western resources without any regard for an Asian context.”

Need #2. Biblical Studies

Second, “the Chinese church needs more resources in the field of Biblical studies… We cannot expect Chinese church leaders to develop contextualized tools and theological insights if they do not have access to foundational knowledge and resources related to Biblical studies.”

Antioch Missions over many years until today has sought to print in China and distribute a huge amount of materials that will help meet the lack of supply in the first two needs listed above.

Need #3. Cross-cultural Training

Third, “Chinese believers need substantial training to serve as cross-cultural missionaries. The failure rate of Chinese missionaries is high. Most have little experience living among people who are not Han Chinese. Furthermore, many Chinese struggle to work in teams while serving in a second-culture environment.”

Antioch Missions is deeply burdened in this area and for over a decade has run courses to meet this need in the Chinese church.

Need #4. Marriage and Family Ministry

“Chinese Christians across the country are desperate to receive assistance in having healthier marriages and families. A majority of believers will readily admit that they are unsure how exactly to be a ‘Christian’ husband/wife, how to lead a church and a family, and raise children who genuinely love Christ.”

Antioch Missions has published several books specifically to address this issue of Christian marriage.

Need #5. Children’s Education

“Chinese children are required to receive 9-years of public education (grades 1-9). This period enables the government to sufficiently indoctrinate all kids with an atheistic, socialistic worldview that celebrates the current political regime. Christian parents understandably are concerned that their children will reject Christianity, especially given increased restrictions by the government on the participation of children in church worship services.”

A number of years ago Antioch Missions funded a powerful Sunday School course and distributed it in China.

Pray that the Lord will raise up labourers to meet each of these 5 needs in the Chinese church.

Pray specifically for the work that Antioch Missions has done for many years in these 5 areas, that we would make a real impact on the Chinese church.

Pray that the Lord would make clear in the years to come how Antioch Missions should serve the church in China in these 5 areas.

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