Recently China has had a resurgence of nostalgia for the Mao era. It is the fashion for young people to wear hats such as the Red Guards wore. There are some restaurants that feature Cultural Revolution style dishes that are simple and coarse. They also include revolutionary songs and dances in their entertainment. Many older Christians remember those days with nostalgia because then believers were zealous for God. We praise God for His goodness to the church in China in the past forty years. May she grow in these good times as she did in those difficult times.
During the Cultural Revolution the only sanctioned entertainment was watching the eight government approved renditions of "Revolutionary Opera". Mao used it very effectively as patriotic propaganda and today these classic operas are enjoying resurgance in popularity even among young people. The way the number of Christians increased during the severe prosecution of that period from 1950 to 1970 was truly God's work. The new generation of believers has little memory or knowledge of the past. We pray that God will stir up in them a passion for Himself that will rival that of the old days.
Watching movie has become the leading entertainment in China. China produced 406 movies in 2008, nationwide box office receipts have steadily increased by at least 25-30 % every year. Although DVD piracy is still rampant, more people are willing and can afford the movie theater experience. New church buildings are popping up in many cities, with air-conditioning and modern facilities and offering worshippers lot more comfort. Small or old churches face "competition" in church growth because their facilities and programs are inadequate. We pray for vision and bold decisions for the smaller congregations seeking to grow and expand.
A recent survey confirm that Chinese are "hesitant and reserve" in expressing their emotion. A perfect example is, Chinese mother play hugely important role culturally, but majority of people feel extremely awkward expressing their appreciation or love for their mothers. Many churches have problem with unity because Chinese believers may not express their opposition openly, but they will refuse to cooperate or follow. In terms of ministry, Chinese are non-confrontational but are too proud to follow. May the Lord give us humility and willingness to express our appreciation and love for our spiritual leaders.
China is the third largest movie-producing country, behind India and America. Chinese-made movies have achieved international acclaim and global appeal; a few of these movies have reached the international market. Yet, the gross international revenue of Chinese movies is less than one American blockbuster movie. In terms of books written by or about Chinese believers, the titles are few and mostly limited to a few older biographies. We pray that in the future, Chinese believers will be able to share their spiritual experience and theological insights through out God's Kingdom.
Karaoke parlors are extremely popular in China because it is an form of entertainment, where people unwind or young lover meet in private and sing. Chinese are generally reserve people, but in the privacy of these enclosed rooms, they can belch out songs for hours. Younger generation of believers are looking for the more contemporary worship style. Many churches face the "clash" between the old and the young. Majority of Chinese churches are very traditional and conservative in worship. We pray that church leadership will be sensitive to the changing culture and the need of young believers.
Chinese young people follow the Western trend but music wise, they are die-hard fans of Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korean and Japanese pop stars. The top favorites songs in the karaoke parlors are Chinese pop songs; Western songs are limited to a few oldies of 1970 or 1980's. It is unfortunate that few leaders pay attention to the liking and the need of young Chinese believers. Chinese churches and young people are much like strangers. We pray that more churches will specifically appeal to the young people and young believers, with messages that is relevant to today's culture and social needs.