Churches in China are profoundly affected by the rapid economic development there which is seen most obviously in the compensation which pastors receive. The great liberal attitude of the society also deeply affects the spiritual life of pastors and believers alike. We praise God for the economic prosperity in China and how so many churches are also involved in the construction and remodeling of their buildings. We pray for revival for the alarming decline in attendance many churches are experiencing.
Church leaders in larger Chinese cities have not been exactly generous in their salary packages for their pastors. There are still plenty of believers who hold the view that pastors must be poor in order to have faith in God or be spiritual. We pray that churches will see how wrong it is to treat God’s servants as their slaves, not respecting their calls from God and that they are forsaking their secular jobs.
In the past, pastors in China often served as volunteers in the churches or at least received a very low wage as they started out. Their main concern was how they could serve their churches and be involved in evangelism and caring. Let us remember these old or retiring pastors in our prayers that the Lord will provide for their needs in retirement and that they will know God will not forget their faithful service, work of faith, and labor of love years ago. (I Thess. 1:3)
The new generation of pastors in China often inquire first about their salary, insurance, and vacation package, very much like they would in a secular job. Some believers consider these young pastors as unspiritual people and that they are treating church ministry as a regular job. We pray that churches in China will withstand the onslaught of materialism, that believers will love the Lord and care for their shepherd, loving the pastor and not simply demanding hard work with little wages.
The younger generation of believers in China see nothing wrong with pastors who demand adequate salaries to support their families. Some pastors in China dabble in multi-level marketing to supplement their incomes but those are harshly criticized. We pray that churches will value those who are laborers for Christ and not treat them as slaves. We also pray for faith for pastors to trust God to provide and know the Master rewards richly those who serve Him.
As the older generation of pastors or seminary teachers retire in China, there are younger faculty members who are only thirty or forth years old. They have had better training theologically than the other ones but they are lacking in pastoral experience and spiritual depth. Older pastors often consider praying before actually doing something while the younger pastors do not. We pray this new generation of pastors will not only have Biblical knowledge but will also practice the presence of God through the power of the Holy Spirit.
The new generation of pastors in China who grew up during a time of prosperity held a vastly different view about sacrifice, serving, and commitment than their predecessors did. We pray that the older pastors will be willing to mentor and guide the younger ones by giving these younger ones opportunity and room to try out their newer ideas.
過去傳道人開始在教會服侍，常常是先成為教會義工，或願意拿很低、甚至不夠糊口的工資。他們甘心擺上，期望神使用自己來關心肢體及這地區的福音需要。我們為老一代的傳道人或是將要退休的禱告，願神為他們預備所需要的養老費用，深知神不虧待他忠心的僕人；我們記念他們因信心所做的工夫，因愛心所受的勞苦 （帖前 1：3）。