Zhang Bohuai first worked in rural education and then served as Secretary of the Religious Education Department in the Shandong synod of the Church of Christ in China (CCC). He later became a professor of New Testament at the Qilu (Cheeloo) School of Theology of the Shandong Christian College in Jinan.
In 1938, he went to Shanxi as field director working with the wounded and in 1940 was appointed to head concurrently the new Border Service Mission (BSM) of the CCC. Later, he would add further to his duties, serving as Executive Secretary and then Chair of the Provisional Council of the CCC General Assembly.
Under Zhang, the BSM work was pioneered by six recent college graduates who volunteered to go to Chengdu, where they were commissioned in December 1939, and then sent to Lifan, Sichuan to begin work. The board of directors was not set up until 1940. During the war years, more than 500 students took part in the work and by 1941 there were 80 Chinese missionaries involved.
The BMS was funded and staffed by Chinese churches and foreign mission societies of several denominations working together. (Neither the CIM or the Baptists joined). Its work was broadly holistic, encompassing medicine, education, economic improvement, social service, and evangelism.
- Wallace C. Merwin, Adventure in Unity: The Church of Christ in China (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1974)