Population: 1.35 billion (2012)
Major language: Mandarin Chinese
Major religions: Taoism, Buddhism, Chinese Folk Religion, Confucianism
Student ministry in China
- one of the ten founder members of IFES in 1947
- forced to terminate work in early 1950s
- no official IFES movement today
- more than 35 million college students in the whole country, 6 million graduates every year
- there is an active evangelical student witness in various cities
Never in the history of the Chinese church have we witnessed such sustained and phenomenal growth among students as in the last 25 years. For those on campus who are seeking truth, the authenticity of the gospel has been strengthened through the sacrificial witness of the suffering church, the bankruptcy of communist ideals, the fervent prayers of the global church, and the mighty work of the Holy Spirit.
With greater freedom to travel and study abroad, nearly two million Chinese students study outside China every year. This brings unique opportunities for mutual learning amongst students and staff in the wider IFES Fellowship, aiding better understanding and partnership for the gospel.
One of our friends in China says, ‘House church leaders have been caught unprepared for a generation of young students who are internet savvy, almost value-free and who think and talk differently than they do. There is a danger that unless they come to terms with the postmodern generation, the house churches may lose an entire emerging generation.’
View from the inside
Li (not his real name) has been encouraging students in China for the past 12 years. His dream is to see a new generation of students equipped to engage with Chinese society in a spiritually mature way: ‘The true measure of a vibrant student movement is to see what kind of impact the graduates make – in their families, schools, churches and the nation – ten, twenty or thirty years after they graduate. I hope we will not find a student movement which is huge in conversion numbers but only skin deep in transforming the cultures and values of its society.’
- for faithfulness and steadfastness in both university and work contexts, in spite of persecution;
- for additional full-time workers to join the team;
- for more financial resources, as the churches are investing fewer resource on campus ministry;
- for wisdom and sensitivity for IFES staff travelling in and out of China, and for efficient communication within the country and with outsiders despite a greater internet restriction;
- for humble learning between Chinese students and the global community of believers.