Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Churches for migrant workers are a new phenomenon in China. They serve Christians from rural areas who have moved into the city but are unable to fit into the urban churches. They are established with a vision and burden to help rural believers retain their faith as they live in the cities. May the Lord have mercy on millions of rural young Christians who have some Biblical knowledge but have a rather shallow spiritual foundation and are the so-called "migrant workers" that they will be able to resist temptation and not stop attending church.
Churches for migrant workers are basically churches in the cities catering to rural believers who have moved there. These churches are not connected with rural nor those in the cities. We pray that churches in the villages will see the huge loss of their young believers once they move into cities. May the Lord raise up people to teach the youth what it meant to be like Daniel who was away from home but was still able to resist temptations and refuse to defile himself but continue to walk closely with Jesus.
In theory, traditional rural churches can continue to minister to believers in the cities from these churches through migrant churches. However, the vast majority of migrant workers who go to the cities do not stay there permanently. Ninety percent of the migrant workers say they plan to return to their village homes eventually. Farmers and urban residents are inherently different and they do not mix well even in a church setting. We pray that people in churches will not look down on those who are poor and lowly but will be willing to accept them with God's love.
In reality, migrant workers in China cannot return to their homes in the villages for two reasons. First, their land is lost and with the extensive use of agricultural machinery, they will be penniless. Secondly, it is hard to revert back to the lifestyle of a villager once one has lived in the city. Migrant churches lack manpower and resources. We beseech the Lord for the vision to save the terrible fact of millions of rural believers drifting away from faith in cities and to stem the decline of rural churches in China.
In China, migrants will most likely move back to towns near their village homes. When they return, they can function as God’s army landing in these smaller cities, equipped with a church and city-living experience. We should be excited for the prospect of Christians returning to smaller cities. We pray that they will provide the impetus to evangelize China as "returnees" from abroad have helped the city churches there.
In China many of the urban believers work in factories and are potentially and logically the best people to invite others to come to church. We pray that God will move people in both the city and town churches to catch the vision and burden to share the gospel with migrant workers by being active in evangelizing and having strategies to preach and conduct services with them in mind as well as speaking at their level.
In China, migrant workers are perhaps the saddest segment of the population. They are basically trapped in cities, with little hope of a better future, unable to buy a home. We pray for Christian migrant workers in the cities in China that the Lord will help them to keep their faith, find a spiritual home, and not fall into temptation. We also pray that the Lord will hear their prayer to walk closely with Him and give them the desire to stay in the city.