Imagine trying to complete your work, without some of the vital tools of your trade: A carpenter without a hammer or tape measure; an office worker without a computer or even a desk; a salesman without products in hand or a cash register. You would likely find some way to complete your work, because it’s something that matters to you, but doing so would be a constant challenge.
Chinese Christian leaders face this challenge on a near daily basis as they often lack some of the vital tools of ministry: on-hand reference books and, for some, a Bible of their own. Unlike in the West, quality Christian study books and study Bibles are scarce, and thus in great demand. While there are Christian publishers within China, their ability to publish enough copies and, even more so, to distribute them can not keep up with this demand.
To help meet this need a "Pastor Pack" (mini-library) of 7-11 books (including reference Bibles, concordances, Bible handbooks and dictionaries, commentaries, and other Bible reference study books) is given free to every participant of a China Partner Training Seminar. Each book included is written in (or translated into) Mandarin Simplified Chinese and authored by scholars (often Chinese living aboard) from Taiwan, Hong Kong, the United States. These mini-libraries can help these Christian leaders with further independent Scriptural study; with sermon, Bible study, and counseling preparation; as study guides in their churches; and with their own daily devotional and family needs. Additionally, there are opportunities to help to supplement the libraries of the seminaries, Bible schools, and ministry training centers China Partner works with by providing more quality Christian literature. Copies of the Training Seminar teaching notes are also left with the hosts of each seminar for distribution to participants, as well as the faculty and administration of host site, for future reference.
Every effort is made to supply the books most needed by the participants of each individual Training Seminar. Therefore, China Partner staff meet with seminar hosts early in the Preparation Timeline to determine what the greatest needs are. Some of the types of books that are provided can be found on the Literature Topics and Titles page. Approximately six months before the event staff make a final decision on titles to be included and the mini-libraries are ordered and paid for. All books are purchased and shipped to the mainland from Christian publishers in Hong Kong who share the ministry’s values of stewardship and serving fully aboveboard and legally. Partnerships with several different publishing houses have been developed, most notably with Amity Printing Press (a partner of the United Bible Societies), China Alliance Press, and Christian Communication Limited. Upon placing the order the publishers generally need at least three months to process it before the books arrive at the Training Seminar site. As referenced in the Training Timeline, the giving of mini-libraries to participants serves as a culmination and physical celebration of the training that is conducted.
“Without exception, the recipients of these mini-libraries are overwhelmed with the thought that these books are their own to keep; to them they are a priceless treasure. They usually take them back with them to their hometowns where other church leaders will also benefit from this ‘treasure,’” exclaims China Partner President Erik Burklin. As the ministry’s staff dream of ways to serve the Church in China in the future, they are prayerfully hopeful that, God willing, additional literature will be able to be translated into Mandarin and that additional financial resources will become available to increase the level of provision possible.
You can help meet these needs by providing Christian literature to Chinese leaders, churches, and ministry training centers. Find out more about doing so by visiting the Your Involvement page or contacting China Partner’s staff through the Contact Form.