Monthly Archives: December 2015

My 3rd Article on China Source

My third post on ChinaSource.org was put up a few days ago. It is titled: ‘Filling a Gap’

You can view it here: http://www.chinasource.org/resource-library/from-the-west-courtyard/filling-a-gap

 

Here’s the article:

For those of us from the western church, we have the advantage of a rich history of sending workers to share the gospel cross-culturally. That history includes experiences —both positive and negative—that have undergirded efforts to reach people across cultural, religious, and economic boundaries. We take it for granted that the church is to send workers out. It’s a normal part of the church’s responsibility and ministry. Those who are sent out learn from the mistakes of those who went before. But Chinese Christians now being sent to other countries have very few examples to follow from their own country. In many cases they are the first to go. Can we share our cross-cultural experience with them as they blaze new trails for the Chinese church?

Though some may say Chinese cross-cultural workers just need more training, sending fruitful workers is not just a matter of getting good training before they go. Even more important than pre-field training is having experienced and solid coworkers who can assist and guide them once they arrive on the field. Are such on-the-field coworkers available for Chinese cross-cultural workers? Perhaps not if there are no other Chinese workers who have already been in that area long-term and are bearing fruit in their ministry with local people.

Western Workers Filling in the Gap

Are there other options for providing help and direction for Chinese cross-cultural workers once they arrive on the field? Is it reasonable for western workers who have been serving in China long-term to fill this gap? Could they go with Chinese workers to an unreached nation in teams to serve together? The western workers could help them appreciate the importance of learning the local language, investing in local people, and sharing the gospel appropriately while also adjusting to the new culture and getting settled in a legitimate job or other opportunity for being in the country.

The western worker has experience in this if he has already gone through this process successfully in China. He could be a model for the Chinese workers once they are sent to the unreached nations, if they move there together. After a few years of observing and working with the western worker in that nation, then hopefully the Chinese workers would be self-sufficient and ready to have a long and fruitful ministry among the local people.

Helping to “Supply What Is Lacking”

Is it worth the sacrifice for western workers to leave their work in China to spend at least a few years in a Muslim nation to help give Chinese workers guidance there? Yes, it does seem to be worth it. Paul talks about how he desires to “supply what is lacking” [1 Thess. 3:10] in the Thessalonian church’s faith. This is an opportunity for western Christians to help supply what is lacking in the Chinese church. Coming from a western church, we are used to the great benefits of sending workers from our churches. Not only is it a blessing for those who go as cross-cultural workers to see God working across the world, but sending out such workers is also a great blessing for the sending church. The people in the sending church are encouraged by those they send, because they hear how God is working around the globe and they play a part in the work through their prayers. Churches that send out many cross-cultural workers often take this for granted and fail to see the great value to the sending church as well as to the nations.

Because most Chinese churches are not currently sending out cross-cultural workers, they are not able to share in this awesome blessing. And often if a church has sent out such workers, a good number of them are floundering and not seeing any fruit. This is an area in which their faith is lacking. Any way that we can help the Chinese church be more fruitful in sending out cross-cultural workers is a way that we can help to “supply what is lacking” in the Chinese churches’ faith. So yes, it is very worthwhile to play a part in the sanctification of the Chinese church, that they may be presented as pure and radiant before the Lord. This is fulfilled when the Chinese church is sending out fruitful laborers to the nations.

My Favorite Classes at Southern Seminary [Part 1]

To commemorate my graduation from Southern Seminary last week I wanted to write ten of my favorite courses at Southern [in no particular order].

  1. Elementary Greek [online] with Dr. Rob Plummer. I took many online courses at Southern, and Plummer was the funniest online professor of them all. He’s the only one who could make Greek & Hermeneutics like comedy hour! His use of props, story-telling, etc. I’d regularly say to my wife, ‘Hey, you gotta come over here and see this!’
  2. New Testament Theology [online] with Dr. Tom Schreiner. I’ve read the New Testament many times obviously. But it was amazing how deep Dr. Schreiner could dig into various themes of the New Testament. With all of his popularity in books and at Southern, it was particularly great to see his humility and servanthood at Clifton Baptist Church and with the old ladies in our Sunday school class together.
  3. Personal Spiritual Disciplines [online] with Dr. Don Whitney. This was such a simple class and required for all MDiv students at Southern. But how important. A couple things that I particularly took away from this class was the simple ‘Pray-Read-Sing’ model we now use nightly for family devotionals; and Dr. Whitney reminding me of how precious my regular times of fasting in the past were and how I needed to return  to that
  4. History & Religion of Islam with Dr. Scott Bridger. I took 3 Islam classes with Dr. Bridger, but this was the only one of them I did on-campus. It was sweet to be in a class filled with students who had particular interest in the Muslim world. And Dr. Bridger could bring to the table his 12 years of experience living in the Middle East, and his extensive studies in Islam, the Quran, and the Muslim world.
  5. Business as Mission with Dr. Zane Pratt. This was a special conference course for the first Cross Conference in Louisville in Dec. ’13. Though Dr. Pratt was a full-time professor at Southern for a couple years, by the time I was there he was already gone. But he did teach this course, which as a conference course consisted of only a two hour lecture from him. The main things I learned through the course were through the required books and papers on a topic I was very interested in.

Reflection on Time at Southern Seminary & in Louisville

A few days ago I officially graduated from Southern Seminary [SBTS] in Louisville, KY.

I got an M.Div. in Missions with a focus in Islamic Studies.

As I’m still living in China, I wasn’t able to attend the graduation ceremony.

But I am greatly thankful for my time at Southern. I took some classes online beforehand, but most of the classes I took during my year living on-campus in the ’13-’14 school year. It was incredibly busy, but the Lord sustained me.

I’m thankful for everything I learned in my classes. I can’t say my theology changed significantly from going to Southern, but I can say that the broad range of classes I had to take for the M.Div. really gave me a much deeper and wider understanding of the Bible and Christianity and Missions.

I also made many friends there, particularly in our year living on campus. We also made many friends at Clifton Baptist Church, as I was a pastoral intern there during our year in Louisville. I was able to learn so much about Ecclesiology and church leadership through the many books read, papers written, discussions with other interns and pastors, and sitting in on the elders’ meetings twice per month.

All of the above things really made me further equipped in serving here in NW China and leading our small M organization here.

I really am thankful to the Lord for blessing me in that way and for many people at Southern and at Clifton investing in us.

Americans Study Chinese for Free!

Yeah you saw it right!

Who’s interested to come to NW China to study Chinese for free?

You can do it here at one of the local universities.

If you’re an American, you get [for a whole year]:

  1. free tuition
  2. free housing
  3. 2000 Yuan [~$312] stipend per month

You just have to pay for the plane ticket here.

You’d come and join our team here in NW China to reach the locals.

If interested, contact me at taborlaughlin@hushmail.com.

Pass this on to your friends. Got 32 open spots to fill!