Last week we looked at the “Why Plant Churches?” of “Why Plant Churches in China?” This week, we are going to look at the “Why in China?” part of the question.
Yes, China is a “closed” country. Of course, there are no “missionary” or “church planting” visas available. But, church planting can be done there. It has been done, and it must be done! Christ commanded that we “teach all nations” in Matthew 28, and when He said that He certainly meant to include the nation that would one day comprise nearly 20% of the world’s population! And as we looked at last week, His commands to baptize them and teach them all things whatsoever He has commanded us can only naturally be obeyed in the context of a local church.
To fulfill the Great Commission in China, more churches must be planted. There are many cities in China that number in the millions and have but just a handful of churches. When I say a handful, I mean that the number of churches in the city can be counted on just one hand!
By comparison, just two days ago I preached at a church located in a county in South Carolina with a population of around 120,000. As I drove through part of the county to reach the church, I passed over 25 Baptist churches (I stopped counting at around 20 but know that we saw more). Some of those churches were located right next door to another! I have a friend from that county who estimated that there are nearly 100 Baptist churches in that one county! That’s 1 church for every 1,200 people!
If an unsaved person in that area wanted to learn about the Bible, he could simply walk to any of those churches and meet someone that could teach it to him and share the gospel with him. In fact, many of those churches actively share the gospel in that community and would perhaps find him before he went to them.
However, in most (if not all) Chinese cities, finding a church isn’t nearly as easy. Some cities with over 5 million people may have no more than five churches! That’s 1 church for every 1 million people! The likelihood of someone in a city like that meeting a Christian who could share the gospel with them is terrifyingly low!
How are we to effectively reach so many people with the gospel? I would propose that a good start would be to begin bringing that 1 church for every 1 million people (1:1,00,000) ratio down to the far more manageable 1 church for every 1,200 people (1:1,200). To do that in a city of 5 million, however, we would need to plant just over 4,000 churches! -for just one city! Keep in mind that there are around 60 cities in China with at least 1 million people and a handful of cities in China that number in the tens of millions!
We have a huge task before us – over 1 billion Chinese people are in need of the gospel!
“How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent?” (Romans 10:14, 15)
We need to be about sending more church planters to China to establish thousands of Bible-preaching churches that will faithfully preach the gospel and obey the Great Commission there!