The Three-Fold Visions of Founding President, Dr. Jonathan Chao
The Evangelization of China
Dr. Jonathan Chao founded the China Graduate School of Theology (CGST) in 1975 in Hong Kong to raise the academic level of Chinese pastors. Theological education was his primary calling in his life-long ministries. Since then, he founded the Chinese Church Research Center (CCRC) in 1978 in response to new opportunities for mission in China. When China began a new era of reform and opening, CCRC reported on the latest developments in mainland churches to Christians overseas, and published research findings on the history of Christianity in China. After ten years of research and China ministries, Dr. Chao founded the Chinese Mission Seminary (CMS) in 1987, which aimed at training missionaries for China. At the same time, he also founded an international mission organization, China Ministries International (CMI). Regional CMI offices were established in different countries to recruit and train overseas Chinese and foreign missionaries to serve in China, and through them to bless the churches in China.
In the fifty years between 1949 and 2000, the number of Christians in China rose rapidly from less than one million to eighty million. This is a golden time for mission in China, only once in five thousand years of Chinese history. In the Chinese churches today, a phenomenon of “sheep seeking shepherds” has emerged. The Lord has opened up China to the Gospel, a tremendous opportunity! This is the critical moment for the evangelization of China.
What is the meaning of evangelization? We see Biblical metaphors on the process of growth and multiplication from seeds to plants. Lord Jesus has used the parable of the sower, with seeds standing for the word of the Kingdom being sown into the hearts of men. If they bear fruits in their hearts, then their life and career are blessed with fruitfulness. Those disciples who follow Jesus and have life in him are like seeds (in the parable of seed and tare) that can spread across sky and ocean. They are like seeds planted in this world, that is, in their family, schools, workplaces, and various corners of the society. They shall grow into trees of life, blessing their families, friends and nations. In their words and deeds, they are the salt and light of this world. This is evangelization.
The "Kingdomization" of the Chinese Church
The church is the glorious body of Christ. It is the foundation for both truth and ministries. Today, denominations of Christian churches elsewhere in the world come to China to do mission work. However, oversea missionaries must transcend denominational differences to maintain unity of Christ’s body. The churches in China must rise above territorial distinctiveness. Together churches local and abroad learn to do missions in the “kingdom way” both globally and locally. This again is a critical time for Chinese churches to multiply and expand God's Kingdom.
The Christianization of Chinese Culture
The events of June 4, 1989 has prompted a large number of Chinese intellectuals to turn to Jesus Christ. They have come to realize the limits of rationality. They no longer stand by the political slogans of "anti-religion, anti-imperialism"; and instead turn to contemplate how Christianity might contribute to the continuous modernization of China. This is the opportunity for Christianity to exert its influence on Chinese culture, and renew it with Biblical truths.
Workplace Focus for The Three-Fold Visions
Reverend Ronald Yu took on the leadership of CMI-HK in 2010. He has served as the Board Chairman and the President respectively. In order to implement the Three-Fold Visions on the grass-root level, the Bible can be read with the workplace perspective. Further discipleship can be developed in the workplace so that missional professionals and businessmen can support and collaborate with fulltime pastors and missionaries to carry out the mission mandate. The Three-Fold Visions are now refined and applied in the Workplace in the following ways.
The Three-Fold Visions as Renewed by current President Rev. Ronald Yu：
Kingdom spirituality and missions
Jesus' teaching on the Kingdom is comprised of two aspects. First, the seed of the heavenly Kingdom must take root and bear fruit in the human heart (the parable of the sower). This is the spirituality of the Kingdom. Therefore kingdomization starts with the individual growing as a disciple of Jesus, cultivating spirituality of the heart. The second aspect is that the disciples, as children of God, are the seeds sown into this world (the parable of the wheat and tares). They are seeds of the Kingdom having a Kingdom mission. The Kingdom of Heaven is manifest in the community of believers. In faith the believers show God's love and righteousness in their family lives, at work and in various eco-political spheres, thereby living out eternal lives in their daily workplace. Their spiritual lives are expressed in their workplaces as faith, hope and love. Further as they are involved in workplace mission, they also exercise professional skills as spiritual gifts. As Christians from different backgrounds and denominations are united in the workplace to serve Christ, the Kingdom of Heaven can be realized in the workplace. As business owners and staff worship and serve in the workplace, churches can be planted and multiply in and through the workplace.
Christ-like servanthood and leadership in the workplace
Chinese culture is in need of Christian transformation. At this time, China is undergoing significant development from its reform and opening policies. With rapid economic growth and urbanization, the workplaces of China are ridden with darkness and greed, demoralizing the Chinese soul for the sake of wealth. The challenges of developing workplace mission lie before the church. Ahead of us, we see the urgent need to pursue the vision of workplace mission, beginning with the disciple in the workplace to live out and serve Christ there. When a significant number of Christians are awaken and committed to see Christian values such as love and justice restored in the workplace, Christianization of culture takes place in a friendly and beneficial way. At the same time we avoid accusations of cultural invasion.
The three roles of Christ as prophet, priest and king were lost since the first man Adam sinned, but they were restored and perfected in the person of Jesus. Jesus Christ is the eschatological Adam, the head of the new Creation. The disciples are now reunited with our head and leader Jesus Christ, and inherit these three spiritual roles. As we head our families and serve at work, we act in the likeness of Jesus Christ, and fully realize the functions of the three spiritual roles. We turn our workplaces into service for Christ as we follow his example both in his leadership as head and in his sacrificial service as servant. We do so as parents in the family, as teachers at school, as managers in a company, and as administrative heads in the government. A Christ-like leadership and servanthood thus begins at the workplace. This is a workable Christ-centered discipleship in the workplace and can transform culture to its best beginning at our daily workplace.
Evangelism and Mission in and through Business as Mission (BAM)
The Chinese people have received the Gospel eagerly in the past fifty years and now it is the Church in China’s turn to take up global missions. Disciples following Jesus have abundant life and Kingdom mission. They should be like seeds spreading first in their native land, and eventually over the ends of the world, and bear fruits for God’s Kingdom. By studying abroad, traveling, doing business, cultural exchanges and short-term missions, they can participate and support frontline missions especially through the business and workplace platform.
Rev. Jonathan Chao Holds the First Chinese Scholar Discipleship Training Camp Jointly with Three Organizations in the U.S.
Rev. Jonathan Chao Takes Upon the Cross for Evangelization in China.
Rev. Jonathan Chao Helps Found the China Graduate School of Theology in 1976 in Hong Kong.
A Collage at Rev. Jonathan Chao's Office