China Outreach Ministries (COM) has focused on sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with Chinese for more than fifty-five years. Currently, we are involved in a strategic opportunity with China’s future leaders who are studying at American universities. There are over 300,000 Chinese students and scholars here, and COM has contact with them at fifty-two universities across North America. These top intellectuals are curious about the gospel and are touched by the love they receive from Christians they meet. Many become serious seekers, and some come to faith in Christ. We prayerfully work to prepare them to return to China as faithful and fruitful disciples of Jesus.
Because of this great opportunity, we wanted to discover how God is touching the lives of Chinese intellectuals in the United States and how we can best cooperate with the working of the Spirit. I had the privilege of doing research in this area for a Doctor of Ministry at Columbia International University. The title of my dissertation is “Factors Encouraging or Impeding the Process of Making Disciples Among Chinese Scholars in the United States.” COM staff administered surveys, both online and in person, with over sixty Chinese scholars who came to the United States without faith in Christ and have since become Christians. These Chinese scholars were asked questions regarding what God used in their lives to bring them to faith, what obstacles they encountered, and how Christian workers either helped or impeded the process.
The information that came to us from these interviews has been helpful. The key element the scholars recognized that God used to bring them to Christ was the loving relationships of Christians who connected with them and helped them in a new land. The top four factors scholars listed in how they became Christians were: contact with and influence of Christians; involvement in the church; coming to America; and involvement in a Bible study. Seeing something in the lives of Christians had a deep drawing effect on them.
Concerning their interaction with Christians, the Chinese scholars we surveyed mostly spoke of Christian service, community, and changed lives as having the strongest impact. Biblical teaching and answering questions were also important. I asked the scholars what things in the lives of Christian workers encouraged them to be Christians and the top four responses given were: testimonies/changed lives; care and love; selfless help; and encouragement/no pressure. When asked what specific help offered by Christian workers assisted most, the scholars listed: sharing their lives/testimonies; answered questions/teaching; sharing God’s word/Bible study; friendship/love/encouragement; and prayer.
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Glen Osborn has served as President of China Outreach Ministries since 2000. COM exists to “Share Christ with China’s Future Leaders” on campuses across North America. Previously, Glen served as a pastor in Canton, Ohio. Glen is a graduate of Glassboro State College and Wheaton College, and has recently completed a DMin from Columbia International University.