KANSAS CITY – For Henry Chen, pastor at Immanuel Chinese Campus Mission, focusing on the kingdom and not the here and now is essential.
The mission is located within walking distance of the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) and since its launch in April of 2008, Chen said only a few of the mission’s members have been there from the beginning.
“About 70 percent of our members are students from China,” Chen said. “Many of them will not stay here, but will go back to China. Because of that, we have extended our mission to China and made it our purpose to disciple students while they are here. That way, they can go back to China and be influential there. We want to focus always on kingdom growth.”
To reach its goal of discipleship, the mission hosts a traditional worship service on Sunday mornings and a fellowship meeting on Friday nights.
“Friday night is our main outreach program, “Chen said. “We start with dinner, we sing for 15 minutes, we have a time of testimonies and sharing and then we break into small groups.”
Partly due to the success of Chinese churches and missions like Immanuel, the International Mission Board (IMB) has recently announced its plans to take this idea of Chinese church plants to the next step. They want to bring the Gospel to the university cities of China. The IMB believes that these cities and their 4 million+ students could be most strategic for the advancement of the Gospel.
“I think that it is a great idea,” Chen said. “College campuses are more open than other parts of China and you can get a great response there. Also, if you can influence the college student, they will in turn be a great influence to the country as a whole. Revival among colleges and universities through campus ministry is an excellent idea.”
However, Chen said ministering at the campus mission, with its members constantly coming in and going out, is quite a challenge.
“We love our kingdom mindset and fulfilling our purposes here at UMKC but our unique situation has both a positive and a negative side,” he said. “What we need is more stable families to come join our college students so that we can keep the ministry going.”
KAYLA RINKER / Contributing Writer