This post is written to help you get an idea about the amount of Christianity in Dalian. I hope this post is a help to you. I will answer some basic questions that will help you hopefully to better gauge what kind of influence Christianity has in Dalian, China.
How many churches are there in Dalian?
In China, a country controlled by the communist party which does not acknowledge the existence of God, it is nearly impossible to determine the amount of churches in a specific area. The reason is because most of the Christian churches in China are underground churches that are not registered with the government. They do not advertise publicly their location and existence but are only found out about through word of mouth. There is no way to keep a tally on exactly where and how many churches are located in Dalian, China. Most Christian people here know of the existence of a few other churches, but I doubt greatly that many people know where all the churches are in Dalian. However, despite this fact I did some research that will hopefully help you get a better idea of the amount of churches and the spiritual condition of people in Dalian. How many people regularly go to church in Dalian? To answer this question, we must first find out what percent of people are Christians in Dalian. To help find out an accurate percentage of Christians in Dalian, I did my own personal study. I asked a hundred different people that I met on the street if they were a Christian. Out of the hundred random people I asked five told me that they were a Christian. This would mean according to my poll that about 5% of people in Dalian believe in Christianity or some form of it. This number also agrees with a worldwide poll done by the Pew Forum group in 2010 that puts the percentage of Christians in China at 5.1%. The population of Dalian is a little less than 6.7 million people which means that there are about 335,000 people that claim to be Christians in Dalian. It is impossible to know what percentage of these people regularly attend churches, but for my numbers I am going to suppose that half of them are regular church attendees. If the average church has 100 people in attendance, this would mean that Dalian has 1,675 churches that would in some way identify themselves as Christian.
Open Churches: I am putting together a list of churches here that I have run across that openly advertise as a church in Dalian. I have found these churches either openly advertising online or with a sign in public view. There definitely are many more churches that could be added to this list, but these are the ones that I was able to find.
- Dalian Catholic Church: This church`s building is a historic building, but the church still has regular times of Mass each week. They have a website with pictures, contact, and directions. http://www.dlcatholic.org.cn
- Yù Guāng Street Church: This church is very visible right near the downtown area of Dalian. The church also has a place where you can buy Bibles in a room to the side of the church. Location Link
- Bǎi Hé (Lily) Church: This three-self church has a big red cross on the outside. It has the biggest and most visible cross that I have seen in the city. Location Link
- Zhù Fú (Blessings) Church: It is located on the Bin Hai West Road near the Xinghai Square. Location Link
- Xīn Xīn (New, New) Church: Location Link
- Chéng Ēn (Hold Grace) Church: Location Link
- Fēng Shōu (Abundant Harvest) Church: From the pictures this church looks huge. Location Link
- Xīng Gōng Street Chapel: Another very big church building. Location Link
- Yáo Jiā Church: Location Link
- Xī Ān Shān (Mount Zion) Church: Location Link
- Gān Jǐng Zǐ Gospel Church: Location Link
- Church Building Church: Location Link
- Gé Zhèn Bǎo Church: Location Link
- Yǐ Mǎ Nèi Lì (Emanuel) Church Location Link
Underground Churches: It is much harder to find out about underground house churches though there are many of them. You will generally only find out about these churches through word of mouth. I personally through word of mouth have heard of eleven different house churches. I am sure there are hundreds more, but from the friends I know these are all that I have heard of. There are also a few international churches that exist in Dalian. These churches are real churches, but they only are allowed to let foreign passport holders in to worship at their churches.
What missionaries are working in the city, what boards are they from, and what types of ministries do they have?
There are many people in Dalian doing missionary type of work. Very few people are actually planting churches. Many of them work as English teachers and witness to their students during non-class hours. Others will have some sort of business that they do in Dalian and will try to use their free time to assist churches or evangelize locals. The majority of missionary work done in Dalian is not church planting focused.
What national missionaries are working in the city?
There are many national Chinese pastors that are leading house churches throughout the city of Dalian. I have not heard of any national Chinese missionaries in Dalian. A missionary meaning someone that raises funds from outside sources with the intent of planting churches. When using the term this way, I do not know of any national missionaries, but there are churches in Dalian that are pastored by national pastors.
Are there Christian bookstores and Christian radio or television stations available in Dalian?
Christian Bookstores: I know of one Christian bookstore in Dalian. There are probably others. This store is called Proverbs book store, and it has a relationship with a nearby government church. Inside the store, you can buy Bibles, popular Christian books in Chinese, as well as Christian-themed trinkets and souvenirs.
In addition to physical bookstores, you can buy an abundance of Christian literature online. You can order Bibles and have them shipped directly to your house as well as other Christian books. Probably the best place to buy stuff online in China is at Taobao.com
Christian Radio: There is no public live streaming Christian radio station in Dalian. Nor would you be able to legally start one. However, there are Christian radio stations that use the internet to spread the Gospel. Most of these kind of stations will use apps on smartphones to allow people to listen to their messages. The radio could have a live feed or just be a stockpile of new audio programs that you can select from to listen to. Also, most online Christian radio stations from overseas can also be accessed in China. There is an abundance of audio resources available. It is just a matter of finding which ones you like that are helpful. It can be hard to find a program that you are looking for.
Christian TV: There are no public Christian TV stations in Dalian. The government does not allow someone to create their own Christian TV station or any other TV station for that matter because all the TV stations in China are government run and censored. There is, however, a website online called: Fuyin.tv (Gospel.TV) This website has an abundance of Christian videos including Christian movies, sermons, conferences, etc. You can watch these videos online or download them to watch later. It is not an online streaming TV station, but it does have an abundance of video resources. You can access the site at fuyin.tv
What other kinds of ministries are in Dalian?
College ministry groups such as YWAM and Campus Crusade will do college campus ministry in Dalian. They will often have groups come for short periods of time to try to meet college students and share with them about Christ.
What is the history of missions in China?
Christian missions in China has a very exciting and unsettled history. There seems to be a pattern that always repeats itself. Missionaries come and gain access to China. They experience some success and growth. Then the government steps in and stands against foreign missionaries and usually forces them all to leave. Usually after a few years China will again open up, and missionaries will be allowed back in. This pattern keeps repeating itself throughout Chinese history. Robert Morrison was the first Protestant missionary to China. He arrived in China in the year 1907. He and other missionaries that followed him slowly gained an entrance into China. Christianity began to spread. In the 1850`s Hudson Taylor arrived in China. He had much success and was able to start the China Inland Mission, which along with other mission`s agencies was able to reach many people in China for Christ. Missionary activities came to a sudden halt in 1900 with the Boxer rebellion. Foreigners in China during this war were targeted, and many were killed. In fact, 230 western missionaries had their lives taken. After the Boxer Rebellion in 1900, China again opened back up to missionaries. For nearly two decades missionaries were able to operate freely and experienced much success. However, the 1919 May 4th resulted in the start of increased opposition against missionaries. This was only increased with the advent of the Chinese Civil War and the Japanese invasion in WW2. Finally after the Communist takeover in 1949 missionaries were again forced to leave China. Many of them were harassed and persecuted. For nearly three decades, China remained completely closed to missionaries and outside influence. However, since the 1970s China has slowly been opening up to more and more outside trade and influence. This has allowed missionaries to slowly return back to China though they still are not allowed to work openly in China.
What is the church history of China?
The first form of Christianity to enter China was the Nestorian Church, which first entered China in 635AD. It lasted for not much longer than 250 years. However, Nestorian Christians returned in the 1200`s but were again extinct by 1368. The Roman Catholic church first came to China in the 1200`s. It slowly grew from there and despite much conflict with the different forms of Chinese government continued to remain in China, and by 1949 there were approximately 4 million Roman Catholics in China. However, the Roman Catholic church has struggled to coexist with the Chinese communist government. The Roman Catholic Church recognizes the authority of the pope while the communist government does not recognize any outside authority. Therefore, the Catholic Church is split with some Catholics following a government-controlled Catholic Church and others choosing to function illegally recognizing the authority of the pope over the Communist government. Today there are about 9 million people in China that are Catholic. Protestant churches were started after the coming of Robert Morrison to China in 1807. Most Protestant denominations started churches in China. Also in the 1st half of the 20th century different Chinese denominations were started such as The True Jesus Church and The Jesus Family. Shortly after the communist take over in 1949, all evangelical churches were required to register with the government`s three-self church movement. A movement they created to try to bring Christian churches under their control. Many churches registered with the three self-movement and many others went underground and continued assembling without the government`s permission. Today there is still this divide among evangelical churches. Many churches in China are registered with the three-self church, but many more operate without the government`s permission.
What will you need to know to live comfortably and safely in China?
When doing ministry in China, you must realize that you do run some risk. It is not a huge risk, but there is a possibility of losing your permission to live in the country. However, you do not need to live in fear because doing ministry is worth the risk that you take.
Resources used in this article:
- Book Jesus In Beijing by David Aikman
- Book A New History of Christianity In China by Daniel H Bays