It’s been a very busy couple of days for our group here in China.

Yesterday we met with leaders of the China Christian Counsel (CCC) and the National Committee of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) of Protestant Churches in China. Working together, the two groups represent all of the Protestant churches in China.

Elder Jianhong Ji, chairman of the TSPM, welcomed us warmly as “colleagues and coworkers in Christ,” then laid out the work of his organization, which includes research into the church in China, training of church workers, publications (including a magazine with a subscription base of over 100,000), social services, and relations with overseas ministries partners, including the Disciples.

Member churches of the CCC are fairly autonomous and include a wide variety of practices regarding baptism, communion, and worship styles. Elder Ji noted, “The Apostles Creed is the basis of our faith in China.”

Later, we visited with the president and faculty members of East China Theological Seminary. The seminary offers a 4-year undergraduate degree plus programs for church musicians, lay church workers, and church volunteers. They are working hard to fill the shortage of trained church workers in China, where just a few thousand ordained pastors are struggling to minister to the country’s 16 million Christians.

Today, we toured Shanghai, visiting a huge garden built in the 16th century, two wonderful museums, and the Shanghai Radio Tower (the city’s answer to Seattle’s Space Needle). Then a 4-hour bus trip to Nanjing.

We are staying in the heart of Nanjing, inside the “old city” which is still surrounded by a city wall built several centuries ago. Tomorrow, we will get our first taste of Protestant worship in China, then tour the Nanjing Massacre Museum. I am thinking it will be quite moving.

Christianity is alive and well and thriving here. Lots to learn from the Chinese churches, and lots of good dialogue between the new church pastors I’m touring with and their Chinese counterparts.

More tomorrow!