When it comes to the Great Commission, I say that our work is never ending; we are going to do the best we can to bring the Gospel to every nation until Jesus Christ comes back. Even now, many people in previously unreached countries are encountering the Truth, bringing radical transformation to individuals and to societies. One such country is China, which makes up nearly one-fifth of the world population, with over one billion people (and growing). There may be risks involved, but China is fertile ground for the Gospel.
Just recently, I arrived home from a trip to Beijing and Shanghai, along with a group of leaders from Harvest International Ministry (HIM). I travel to China twice a year to visit the state-approved seminary that we as Wagner Leadership Institute (WLI) have established there for a select number of Chinese pastors who lead house-churches. We have the privilege and honor of imparting to these students and activating them in the ministry of the Kingdom, so that they may bear even more fruit. On a recent trip, we graduated 70 students at the Great Wall of China in a momentous ceremony, marking the fulfillment of a vision God gave me many years ago about the impact I would make on the continent of Asia.
When I was 19 years old, God gave me a promise that I would go to mainland China for the sake of the Gospel. The Great Commission took hold of my heart:
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 28:19)
I was hungry and eager to fulfill Jesus’ commission in China, a nation then largely unreached with Christianity, although there had been many missionaries who had gone before; notably Hudson Taylor, in the 19th century. But when governmental systems shifted in 1948, the country became more closed to Christian ministry. To go there in the 70’s felt very risky, but I knew that the Lord had given me a word. I considered dropping out of school to move overseas, but through the guidance of my pastor and my father, I stayed in school and pursued a degree in ministry instead. I continued to carry the vision, however, not knowing exactly how it would come to pass.
In 1986, I had my first opportunity to go to China, on a more traditional mission trip. I never imagined that thirty years later, I would be leading an apostolic network in the same country, with the freedom and opportunity to minister to many native leaders and influencers. Even when we are not actively in the country training individuals, seminary students take courses that I teach online (translated into Mandarin, of course). It is a great honor to teach this select group of students the Word of God, and it is a dream fulfilled for me.
Sometimes, the Lord will give you a promise, and you may interpret it a specific way. But revelation is not the same as interpretation. In my case, I interpreted the word to go to China as the call to be a more traditional missionary. But God had different plans and a more expansive vision for my involvement in this nation, as one of impartation and activation for a generation of pastors. I encourage you to continue to contend for promises you may have given up on because you felt they weren’t fulfilled. God may have a different idea for how that specific longing will come to fruition in your life.
Influencing the seven mountains
Today, I am in a role and position to impact the church in China in a way I never could have conceived of back in the 70’s. Wagner Leadership Institute is the first known Christian seminary approved by the state since the country changed governments over sixty years ago. This itself is a miracle! In recent years, there has been a major shift and openness to the Gospel. Christians are now perceived as good contributors to the state because they are hard-working and ethical. Believers in Christ work as unto the Lord, as Colossians 3:23-24 says:
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.
I attribute this change in attitude to one man named Peter Xiao, a renowned economics professor at the University of Beijing, which in status and excellence is comparable to Harvard University here in the U.S. Professor Xiao, who became a Christian, wrote a paper arguing that market economies with churches grow faster than market economies without churches. Xiao has a very influential voice in the government, and his paper carried a powerful appeal: Christianity may help the economy develop even more rapidly (it’s currently at 8%). As a result, the state adopted a far more favorable stance towards Christianity, opening many doors to the Gospel.
Peter Xiao gives us an amazing example of what it means to be a culture-reformer and influencer. Through the mountain of education, he was able to bring about concrete change to societal and governmental attitudes. Although persecution of Christianity does continue in China, Xiao’s insight and boldness have resulted in reformation among those in authority. Although I believe that revival often happens among the poor, we are also to carry the message of the Gospel to the wealthy and influential tier of society. In Acts 9, we see Ananias initially resisting God’s call to pray for Saul because he had been killing Christians and had the authority to persecute.
But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. (Acts 9:15).
Notice that the Lord said Paul was to carry His name “before the Gentiles and kings”. If we want to bring about true reformation that penetrates all facets of society, we must have vision to influence the influencers. It is my desire to see more “movers and shakers” rise in the different mountains of influence in society, which include government, arts and entertainment, education, family, media, religion and business. I want to see a generation raised up that boldly brings heaven to earth in every facet of society!
the legacy of an apostle
One great mover and shaker that I want to honor is my spiritual father, Peter Wagner, who recently passed away on October 21st. I was able to be with Peter right before he went home to be with the Lord, at the age of 86 years old. He established Wagner Leadership Institute in 1998, and I have been leading it for the past six years. It has been an honor and privilege to carry Peter’s legacy in China, as it was always his dream to reach this nation with the transformative power of the Gospel.
A photo posted by Che Ahn (@cheahn) on
Today, China is one of the major “hot spots” for global revival. There is a window of opportunity we have as believers to bring in the harvest in this nation and in other nations around the world. Impacting China is a major part of my destiny, which God first revealed to me over forty years ago.
I encourage you to seek the Lord about your own destiny, and to come to the Prophetic Destiny Conference at HRock Church from January 13-16, 2017. This will be a powerful time of equipping and learning from a number of leaders in the Church, including myself, my son Gabe Ahn, Brian Simmons, Kris Vallotton, Havilan Cunnington, Misty Edwards and Shawn Bolz.
Here are a number of resources to help you pursue your destiny and impart identity as a world-changer and reformer.
- I compiled The Reformer’s Pledge as a collection of insights and testimonies from men and women of God who are changing the world!
- This Changes Everything is written by the late Peter Wagner on the transformative power of the Gospel.
- Prophetic Destiny is a conference that will equip you to fulfill your destiny in God. It will be January 13-16 at HRock Church in Pasadena, California.