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The majority of wealthy Chinese businessmen who made their fortune twenty to thirty years ago had no more than a grade school education. They have, however, put a great emphasis on sending their children abroad to receive the best education possible. Many are excited to see how their children will combine their huge family wealth with the Western business perspectives they learned. Younger Chinese pastors now have far more theological training than the previous generations of church workers had. Older pastors emphasize that spirituality comes from suffering for Christ and a sacrificial commitment to Him. Let us pray for a smooth transition of leadership in the churches. May the Lord bless us with another generation of faithful workers.
The Communist Party claims to have more than seventy-two million members, the largest party in the world. It is very strict about admitting new members but its ranks still grow by seven percent annually. Realistically and practically, one has little opportunity to advance without being a member of the party in China. College students who come to know Jesus always struggle with the problem of whether their faith will hurt their chance to get party membership. We pray along with them for faith in the eternal and almighty God, for their commitment to Jesus and their sense of betraying the expectations of their parents by giving up party membership.
It is common for young people in rural areas to get married and then go to work in the cities. This is both a tradition and also a fulfilling of the expectation of their parents. As the divorce rate increases in this group, they face the problem of who will care for their elderly parents, who will care for their children, and the division of their properties back home in the village.Many young people have grown up in church but have long ago stopped attending church and literally "lost their faith". We take this time to pray for those "lost" sheep and those who are struggling with broken marriages. May the Lord be merciful and gracious and help them to return to His fold.
It is common to see one pastor shepherd multiple congregations. Such disparity in the pastor/member ratio creates a situation where pastors are unable to meaningfully care the needs of the believers. Pastors are extremely busy because they have to take on the responsibility of the administration (paying for utilities, renting and other expenses) of multiple meeting sites. Lacking a true coworker team is a common problem for many churches, because many churches are run in a very centralized and closed fashion. Let us pray for all the churches, as they seek people who are willing to commit and building up of leadership team.
Improving both the quantity and quality of pastors is one of the biggest challenges of the Chinese churches. Many answered the call but lack a systematic theological training, many lack the concept of how to properly minister the congregation. Many of them are sent out to do task that is far demanding and inadequately equipped. We must continue to beseech the Lord to strengthen the shepherd and send more workers. In the mean time, we are committed to pray for those who badly needs encouragement, refreshing and equipping. We too pray that their sheep will empathize with them and being appreciative of their pastors, instead of being critical and demanding.
For Chinese parents, the ultimate and the entire effort of education is to get their only child into college. That means getting the best grades at every stage. Parents often repeat the mantra: "There are xxx days till college examination." or "study like hell and you will enjoy paradise in college". Far more youth are not able to get into college, because they lack the grades or financial ability. We pray especially for Christian teens who must start working at the end of high school. We know God has a perfect plan for them even without a college education. May the Lord grant them faith in Him and favor before all people.
Ministry among college students has become an important component of ministry in China. Some colleges have five or six fellowship groups or even more. This is a new chapter in the history of house churches and some of them are composed exclusively of students and recent college graduates. We take this time to pray for those student churches. It is not easy to carry them on because of the nature of this kind of ministry. The students cannot stay on after graduation and are not able to contribute to the work financially. We pray for all of the discipleship training done in these student fellowships and churches. May the Lord reward those who are leading, who are involved and who give to these young believers.