China is aging at an alarming rate. She has 150 million people who are over sixty-five years old (about 10.8 % of the population) so for every one hundred people in China eleven of them are over sixty-five years old. The graying phenomenon is particularly pronounced among the rural churches in China. Although this poses a great challenge to church workers, we trust God has a great plan for the churches in China and He can still bring about a revival.
China is the only country in the world with more than 100 million elderly people. Over the past decade, the number of people over eighty years old in China has almost doubled to more than twenty million. Many pastors consider that ministry to elderly people is a waste of time and produces no benefit for church growth. We pray for all who share the gospel with elderly people who are not believers that the Lord will give them the bountiful joy of seeing lost souls saved.
As young people leave home to work in the cities, the number of elderly people living on their own has grown to fifty percent. Among them, 33 million are disabled or at least partially so. Many older believers have become homebound and simply cannot get to church. We thank the Lord for those who visit, taking food to share and pray with them. As Jesus has said, “They have done it unto Him”.
China has established a basic social pension system. Currently, there are 58 million retirees who receive state pensions (a mere 4.5% of the population) and the new rural social pension should cover 60% of all the counties. Many Chinese start to collect a pension when they are fifty-five years old. We pray for this age group of believers who have much time and are able to help out with ministry in the church that God and the leaders in the church will inspire them to serve in their respective places of worship.
In 2010，one elderly person was supported by five working-age people in China. A new estimate says that the ratio will drop to three people of working age to support each elderly person by 2020. There are older believers who are able to visit and care for other elderly people in their church. We pray that God raises up more of them to be a great blessing to their church and a wonderful example for young believers.
The traditional Chinese value of "raise children to provide retirement” has become untenable under the one-child policy. Young couples must now care for four elderly parents because they are the only children in their families. Many elderly believers live in terrible loneliness, their children are far away and the church is essentially their family. We pray that young believers will treat them with respect and show them tenderness, being willing to spend time with them.
Many elderly Chinese are accepting the idea of going to a nursing home. Only 1.8% of the elderly population in China lives in a nursing home compared with 2-3% in a developing country. There is usually a long waiting list to get in. Unfortunately, sometimes churches must care for elderly people who are neglected and even "abandoned". May the Lord richly bless those who reach out to those elderly people in need showing them the love and compassion of Jesus Christ.
雖然中國向來有基本的農村社會養老保險，但是能領取養老金的人數只有占人口的 4.5%（5170萬人）。現時在新政策下，百分之六十的農村都有養老保險。 許多人過了五十五歲就在拿養老金。我們祈求主，感動這些年紀尚有可為的信徒，在有時間和精力下，能多作主工，參與教會各樣的事工。願教會領袖能激勵他們，在教會有更多的參與和服事。