Before 1949, setting up educational organizations was the main means of expanding the influence and training modern personnel for Christian churches. Christian churches were different from Catholic ones in that the former attached great importance to higher education and got great achievements in addition to their efforts in primary and secondary education.
From the early 20thcentury to the late 1920s, various Christian missionary groups set up altogether 14 mission universities in China. It had a tremendous influence on the higher education of China, because at that time there were only three state-run universities, namely Peking University, Shanxi University and Peiyang University. In addition, mission universities had set examples in educational patterns.
In 1901, the Methodist Episcopal Church, South set up Soochow University, which was the first western-style university in China. Then Christian universities were set up in succession, including St. John's University in Shanghai, Hangzhou Christian College, West China Union University in Chengdu, Huazhong University in Wuchang, NanjingGinlingUniversity, Huanan College of Arts and Science in Fuzhou, Xiangya University of Medicine in Changsha, Ginling College of Arts and Science for Girls, Shanghai Hujiang University, Canton Christian University in Guangzhou, Yanjing University in Beijing, Shandong Qilu University, Fujian Christian University, and some small colleges. These western-styled colleges and universities contributed much to the training of modern personnel.