The gap in wage earning between cities and villages in China has widened dramatically in the past thirty years. In 2012, people in cities earned 3.1 times more than those in the villages. Many rural churches struggle to be self-sufficient and their pastors need to work full-time to support themselves or even have to abandon their ministries. It is not unusual that churches in the countryside have no pastor at all. We pray that God will provide a solution and revive those churches once more.
We pray for the older pastors in villages that they will be mentors to a new generation of workers and help them grow spiritually by giving them opportunities to serve. May the Lord help those pastors to be good examples of faithful service and striving to help their younger co-workers to serve and love God.
In contrast to those in the new house churches in the cities, believers in the traditional churches in China are mostly elderly, women, illiterate or semi-literate, poor, unable to give offerings, and do not understand Biblical truth or the meaning of their faith. A great majority of the believers in the Three-self Churches are older. We pray especially for them that God would cause a great revival among them and renew their passion to share the gospel.
In the past, the rapid growth of rural house churches in China came mostly from conversions, their passion for God, and their zeal to evangelize (share Jesus Christ with others). There was also a heavy emphasis on personal spiritual experience found in the comfort, guiding, and moving of the Holy Spirit. We pray that God will once again revive the rural churches so they have true freedom in Christ and will minister to one another in love being powerful witnesses because they are steadfastly following Jesus.
In the rural churches in China, the Sunday schools for children need good curriculum greatly along with training for the teachers so they will teach the Bible in an age-specific fashion rather than just watering down whatever is in the adult materials. We pray that rural pastors will include and speak to the young people when they preach and that they will be able to help young believers to live out Jesus Christ in this pluralistic culture.
With the rapid increase of the number of churches in cities across China, urban churches definitely have an advantage over those in the villages in terms of freshness of messages from the pulpit and all kinds of spiritual resources. We praise God that even young Christians are able to enjoy good shepherding in the urban churches.We do pray, however, that urban churches will not ignore rural churches and that they will share their blessings with believers in the countryside who are not so well off financially.
We boldly beseech God that churches in the cities will share their rich spiritual resources with the churches in rural China, and also supply the teachers to assist the impoverished churches in villages. We also pray that God will raise up believers who are well-equipped and have a burden to go to churches in the villages and specifically serve the youth there.