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For most of his life, Hudson Taylor was haunted and depressed both by his desire to see the Chinese saved and his fear of responsibility. In many instances, he trusted God for what at the time were remarkable requests: In 1881, he asked for another 70 missionaries within three years, and he got 76. In 1886, he requested another 100 within the year and got 102.

Sometimes, Taylor’s fears were realized: some missionaries resigned exhausted; others lost their faith; others lost their lives, some to disease, some to violence. Despite moments of sterling faith, Taylor struggled with fits of severe depression his whole life.

Yet when he died, in 1905, Protestant mission agencies in China had nearly 4,000 missionaries and counted some 200,000 converts. A success of this magnitude required the heroic sacrifices of thousands in China as well as Western supporters. But it also required one man to take up a work which, humanly speaking, was simply impossible.

Andrew Chan

Title: understanding church growth

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