Friday, February 23, 2007

Post #9: Why the CHINESE UNDERGROUND CHURCH grew.

SCROLL DOWN and read all the posts leading up to this one. But make sure you read the TEXT.

Do you know one possible reason that the underground church grew in China? And I’m not thinking persecution, which is the normal answer. One answer: Because of the communist government made it happen.

I have been told this (and I am looking for people who can comfirm this to be the case): That the communists knew groups were meeting and tolerated them. And monitored them. When a church grew to about 30, they said –

"Look, its OK that you meet, but you can’t have that many. It is potentially subversive."

So they were required to split in two. And therefore they grew and grew, splitting, and multiplying. And they knew each other, and kept each other accountable. I don’t know what this all means for us. We are more than 30 at Christ Church NYC. And we are more than 150 (See previous post).

I guess it will mean starting a new service. (For my non-NYC readers, we are planting a new congregation on April 1st).

Let’s get shrewd and keep thinking about our next congregation / church plant.

V9 (the second thing to learn) coming in a little while...

4 comments:

mandy said...

hey justin

encouraging to hear of your church's "planting plans".

I just visited an area in cambodia where a single church in a provincial town had planted 10 new churches in surrounding villages in the past 7 years.

yes, the method of breaking off really stimulates growth, especially since it causes believers focus on people who may have been forgotten otherwise.

I want to be like the believers in acts 11...

dave williams said...

Heard Phillip Jenson recently talk very strongly on the importance of growth through planting

As for the China question -I don't know -it's possible although they happily tolerate large official churches. I have learnt to ignore a lot of what I hear in the West about the Church in china as misinformed/inaccurate!

Em said...

That is so exciting to hear that you are planting a new church. Where abouts will it be?
I will start praying for it now.
Love Em

Anonymous said...

A note from a Chinese who grew up in a Christian family in China.

To be more precise, the "underground" church in China is actually called "house church", cos they are located in people's houses instead of public locations. They are churches not registered in Communist government, but "have not officially been outlawed". Due to the "fears of a center of popular mobilization outside the control of the Communist Party of China", Chinese government tries to control their numbers. I’ve heard that when a house church goes beyond 30 people, government will interrupt with dismiss or fine or even persecution. But I can’t find the official proof for the specific number. Actually the restriction varies in different provinces. For the open cities along the coast, there are no specific numbers to restrict the house church; while more severe restriction for inland cities. My hometown is one of the open cities by the east coast of China, where the house church sometimes goes to over 100 people, but still without government interruption as long as they are not doing anything obviously threatening government, such as preaching something anti-government.

I do agree that the way house church splits might result in the faster growth, which is sort of like “cell division” type of growth, the size might be small, but the growing is speedy. Quote a Chinese saying ---" a single spark can burn out the whole forest" :)

P.S. If you are interested in more details about Chinese house church, check out the link below: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_house_church