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Social Work Practice By Christian Churches in China: Service Doesn't Meet the Society Demands

Social Work Practice By Christian Churches in China: Service Doesn't Meet the Society Demands

The Forum The Forum(Gospel Times)
ByYi Yang November 10, 2015
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Recently, the government, academics and education are to encourage and support the religious circles engaged in charitable activities. From these circumstances, it provides an opportunity for beliefs to be in practice. The spring of religious charity has come yet it is a challenge on whether or not the the Christian church will seize the opportunity and try to grow and be salt of the Earth.

On the first cross-strait religious community BBS, Pastor Zhou Lianfu who is also the Vice President of Chongqing Christian Association said in the theme: today the Christian social status in the field of public service is: social demand is great, but the church's social service scale and the action is extremely limited, embodied in: the church without enough capability, lack of influence and uneven development in churches of China and the management pattern is too old.

First of all, Pastor Zhou thinks that church participation of society works is limited. Currently, compared to specialized service organization, social services that are organized by CPPC and many christian congressions are brief and sporadic.

The second is the lack of influence. The church's social service activities are rarely reported by the media due to various limitations. This leads to the society not having a clear recognization of the church’s activites to some extent. Some non-believers even think that the church is only there to accept help and that it has a lack of actual care for social groups. It is inevitable that enthusiasm of volunteers and believers for charity services have been reduced.

Thirdly, the churches, development is unbalanced. The church's social service works has been varied and forms a certain scale attributed to the geographical environment and political and economic factors, such as some coastal cities Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Fujian. The mainland churches, however, are in stagnation.

Fourthly, the old management model has led to the slow development of the  church service.  Pastor Zhou insisted that this is mainly related to ideas, talents, and funds. 

First of all, limits of the concept is one of the reasons that hinder the development of social service of the church. Some people couldn't figure it out and regard them as religious groups. In addition, believers in churches have different opinions about evangelization and social services, some think that the church's mission is to preach the gospel and feed disciples, and social services have nothing to do with the church, they are just concerned about saving the believer's soul, so they have an indifferent attitude towards society. The churches of course must be for the sake of the Gospel and the salvation of souls, but social services are also indispensable, to balance the two aspects.

And then, there are less personnel engaged in social service. The more the church becomes developed the more challenges are  faced, one is the lack of the pastoral staff and the reality of the talent shortage has affected the ability of social service work in church. A church not only needs love, it also need professional skills. Only then can we truly honor God.

Thirdly, the social service ability of church government is limited and lacks in funding. The churches not only need to preach the gospel or feed believers but also do social services. However, this is a big challenge in terms of money. Despite the government's policy to encourage religions to engage in public welfare charity, many of the churches are still unable to undertake these activities. Pastor Zhou thinks that the lack of talents and experiences restrict the ability of undertaking the service items of government for the operation and management that religious groups registered in social service agencies. The relevant laws and regulations also need to be further clarified and simplified.

Translated By: ZhaoYi

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