Christianity in Mongolia is a reality for the first time in modern history. There are now close to 200 churches in the capital as well as believers, if only in tiny groups, in every one of Mongolia’s provincial centres. Yet there are challenges:
a) Many are interested in Christianity, but their reasons are mixed. In the past, a significant attraction was the chance of employment by missionaries/NGOs. Today, some who come into the church drift away or never become disciples. Pray for effective discipleship and Christ-like living among believers. Only a few of the larger churches have become financially autonomous from foreign sponsors.
b) Christianity must shed its foreign-ness, becoming truly Mongolian and still biblically centred. Many missionaries enter with inadequate cross-cultural preparation. Pray for a better contextualization of biblical truths to fit Mongolian culture.
c) Age-imbalanced congregations are usually comprised of many young adults and students, but far fewer of the older generation, especially older men. Children tend not to be brought to church. Pray for a harvest among all ages and generations.
d) Rural churches have very little support or teaching due to a lack of finances and their distance from the capital, where most of the training and resources exist. An effective nomadic church concept has yet to be established.
e) The need for spiritual unity. The Mongolian Evangelical Alliance (MEA) seeks to bring together all Mongolian churches for fellowship, growth and a united front in representing Christians to the government. Pray for vision, leadership and real oneness to come out of the MEA.
Developing Mongolian church leaders is a strategic need and the key to strengthening the Church. Good training is central to this – most churches, especially rural ones, desperately need biblically astute leaders and teachers. There are eight Bible colleges, mainly denominational in character. The largest is the interdenominational Union Bible Theological College, which focuses on training church leaders. There are also other Bible training centres, run by local churches and missions. Given the country’s vast size and rapid church growth, developing a TEE programme that serves the far-flung congregations is possibly the Mongolian Church’s greatest need. Pray for the right models of leadership and appropriate support structures to develop, from high-level academic study to informal training of laity.