China, evangelism, teaching English, relationships, students, Christian missions


This empirical research revealed that relationship-building by missionaries among English language learners in China was a factor that facilitated their verbal communication of the gospel. For this study, I interviewed 15 missionaries who were identified by various leaders as being active in evangelism and who had shared the gospel with at least 10 Chinese people in the last year that they were on the field. Participants explained that they used the strategy of “funneling” interactions with Chinese individuals by narrowing down a large number of people with whom they had contact to a select few who were interested in spiritual conversation. This process led them to notice, explore, and capitalize on opportunities to verbally communicate the gospel. This qualitative study uses a grounded theory methodology to understand and explain the meaning that these missionaries attributed to their evangelistic activities. Study participants included 15 missionaries who currently work with Purposeful Teaching (pseudonym).