China has been urbanizing since 2000. Urbanization has not only influenced Chinese society greatly but has also promoted the development of urban churches in China. May the Lord help the urban churches to adapt to the changing times and to manifest His power and grace. We pray that all churches will have a great influence on morality in Chinese society.
The urbanization of China is changing the demographic of churches in China. Rural churches are losing members because the young people seek work in cities. Churches and ministries decline because many are left with only elderly people and the "left behind" children. As urban churches grow and mature, we pray that rural churches will not just become weak and hopeless. We too pray for revival of rural churches, may the Lord strengthen and give courage to those who serve in churches in small towns and villages.
Urban pastors in China agree that city churches there face four key challenges. One is the current mobile and floating nature of the population of China which leads to short and unpredictable church membership and attendance so training for discipleship of believers and for co-workers is difficult. May the Lord give the leadership in the churches wisdom in finding ways to follow up each of their sheep as well as a strategy to train their co-workers intentionally and effectively.
Many urban pastors in China admit their leadership skill is their biggest weakness. They know how to preach, take care of the needs of the smaller congregation, but they feel inadequate to plan, organize and lead the church to grow. Not everyone is gifted to be a leader and secular leadership skills cannot be blindly used in the church. We pray for the gift of leadership for pastors in China, that they will seek a vision from God Himself, and be a humble servant like Jesus was, not lording it over the sheep but be willing to serve them.
Another big issue urban churches in China face is that of courtship and dating for the single people, especially the sisters. Historically there are more girls than fellows in churches so many single sisters have to struggle with the decision of marrying a non-believer or staying single. Churches should to be sensitive to the needs and pressures all young ladies face. We pray that there will be an innovative way to bring these Christian singles together and the church leaders will know how to minister to them.
A hugely important issue for urban churches in China is their minimal participation in society and in their neighborhoods. Many churches are simply invisible and make no impact on their community. A majority of the churches are unregistered house churches that struggle with the decision to register with the government. We pray about their legal status and their desire to participate more in their communities and even in mission efforts.
Urbanization of China has lead to great prosperity. However, there is a tremendous and increasing spiritual hunger and thirst as a result of people moving into cities. We pray that churches will realize their need and mobilize at this time, that they will seize the opportunity to meet the need of the spiritual vacuum among so many Chinese and that Christians will increase their efforts to share the gospel with people all around them.