Although teachers in China are required to have continuous education to improve their professional level and ability to improve the education of their students, rural areas lack training and even good quality training programs. Hence, it is difficult to improve the quality of teachers in rural China. We pray for every shepherd and leader in the rural churches of China. May the Lord give them passion for God's word and boldness to proclaim it and serve His people. Above all, may they have the humility to live out what they preach and be an example to their sheep.
A survey in China shows that high school teachers have many more opportunities to receive training in their field than do junior high teachers and those who teach in the elementary grades have even fewer opportunities for training than the junior high teachers do. These training sessions are mostly seminars followed by a discussion type of meeting. They are given very little opportunity for an observation-type learning experience. We pray for rural churches to grow stronger in God's truth and not waver or be blown about by trifling theological issues. May the Lord move the urban churches to learn how rural believers have a simple faith and a strong love for God.
Opportunities for career training for rural teachers are very limited and usually consist of lectures which cover mostly theories that are often not even applicable to rural settings. These kinds of seminars feature speakers from cities and provide minimal interaction between the speakers and the teachers. These same mistakes can happen as rural pastors receive training from well-intentioned outside or foreign teachers. We pray for wisdom for those who teach and that their students will be able to understand and make good application of their teachings for their own sheep and church settings.
In the recent past, there has been certain improvement of the ministry among children and youth in the rural churches in China. However, they face the huge problem of too many children who have no parental supervision because their parents work in the city. One cannot rely entirely on the church to help a child grow in the faith. We pray that the God of mercy will bless all who serve the young people in the churches with wisdom, patience, and thoroughness to make up somehow for the lack of parents of those children and youth in their church.
In China, the relatively affluent urban children have more access to the nation's prestigious institutions, with a smaller financial investment but end up with better job later. But, for the poor rural children, they pay a much larger percentage of their parents income, to go to a mediocre school and end up with lower-paying job later. Many social factors contribute to "inevitable" decline and so many obstacles seem impossible to overcome for the rural churches. It is sad to see the decline of China's rural churches, but we will continue to pray for what God can and will do because we have in Him.
For many young Christians who have lived in city, when they visit their old church in the village, they find the worship stifled, prayers are formula-like, preaching irrelevant, church as a whole dead and preacher who could not identify with or minister to their spiritual need. We pray especially for the young people who feel they are not ministered to. Many pastors have only limited education and are uncomfortable and even intimidated with members who are college grads. It is our prayer that churches can minister well to both old and young.
The single purpose of the many top-notch high school is to remove every possible distraction as the students prepare for the "gaokao", the national college-entrance exams, which are seen as the gateway to success in life. For seniors at these high schools, the pressure is extreme. Let us pray for all the believers who are in high school and obviously have the pressure to excel academically. Many stop going to church because their parents want them to study more. May the Lord give them strength, wisdom and above all, desire to walk closely with the Lord.