FAQ: Can you actually start a church? (by Ben Johnson)

Another frequently asked question comes after we introduce ourselves as church-planting missionaries. It is the question of whether or not we can actually start a church in China.

The simple answer to that is yes. But as you may already know, simple does not give you the full details of what that means. Yes, we can start a church but it will not look like a church in America.

First of all, the churches we start are considered illegal by the Chinese government. It is not because they are Christians but that they are an unregistered gathering. Christianity and church are not illegal. The government wants you to meet in their state-sanctioned churches.

Secondly, because these are considered illegal (and because of being in a city), we do not meet in a typical church building but in an apartment. These aren’t home churches in the sense that these are people of the church’s homes. When we start a church, we rent an apartment specifically for church.

And that is where the differences really end. If you came to a church service, it would be very similar to your experience in America. Even our outreach would be similar. We do not hide who we are.

The bottom line is that we can start churches. Yes with some restrictions but not enough to keep us from doing what God has commanded.


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