Tuesday, October 30, 2012
According to a large survey, the vast majority of people in China feel their country is heading in the right direction. Although there is rising discontent over issues from corruption to the safety of food and a growing fondness for U.S.-style democracy, there has been a surge in nationalism recently, especially since the anti-Japanese demonstrations. We pray that the growing confidence of people in the churches in China will translate into a strong sense of evangelism and mission and above all, a continuing trust in God rather than in their own strength.
Most of the people in China say they are better off financially than they have been but inflation remains their top concern with sixty percent of them saying it is a "very big problem". People in China are increasingly worried about corruption, social inequality between the rich and the poor, and safety of the food supply. Christians experience the same anxiety and angst as others and it often stops them from giving offerings to God or serving in church. Let us pray that Chinese believers will trust God to care for them without fail and be willing to serve Him because they are content and thankful.
Consumers in China are becoming more sophisticated than in the past and their motivation for purchasing luxury goods is complicated. Younger consumers are more conscious of value than their elders and the buying pattern suggests less of an emphasis is being placed on things with certain logos on them. There are bound to be differences and inevitably some friction between older and younger members of the churches. We pray for patience, kindness, and humility for the older members and a spirit of obedience for the younger ones.
When a pastor in China asks for financial compensation from a church, he is invariably criticized as "unspiritual" or that he "has a lack of faith in God". As a result many pastors are unable to serve wholeheartedly because they must take a side job and as a result they become very fatigued physically mentally and spiritually. The favorite criticisms Chinese people give are "not spiritual enough" and "not enough faith". We all need to be humble before the Lord so we can see how others serve Him in private rather that tout our own spirituality and brag about our faith.
Outside of China it is a given that pastors receive adequate financial compensation for their services but in China's house churches it is hotly debated whether they should or should not pay their pastors. Those opposed to giving the pastor a salary often cite the example of the Apostle Paul who was a tentmaker. We cannot pray for the pastor to give his best effort doing the work of the church and then not supply his daily needs. May the Lord be gracious and kind to each one of His countless servants? We need to remember that each of us will one day stand before His judgment seat and show our work and service to Him.
Since many of the older pastors in the house churches never had a salary, they will say, "God is faithful. He will supply the needs of His own servants so we will lack nothing." Thus, they do not ask the churches for a salary since it is in their view a test of whether they are spiritual or not. Let us pray for churches in China that they will do well in teaching about tithing and giving to God's work. We pray, too, that shepherds in the churches in China will be respected and loved by their sheep.
Pastors in the house churches in China usually do not receive salaries. The main reason they do not ask for a salary as well as the fact that the offerings in these churches are meager, is that people are really not able to give their pastors a salary. Also, many churches do not consider it is their responsibility to pay for a pastor. We pray for pastors in China who are able to give all they have with little to worry about as far as supporting their families since they have supportive spouses and children who are proud of their parent's dedication.
在海外傳道人受薪制度根本不算是問題，但在中國的家庭教會卻是爭論已久的熱點。反對傳道人拿薪水的人通常以使徒保羅一邊支帳篷、一邊自力傳道的模式作爲聖經依據來支持自己的觀點。我們不能單單要求傳道人專心在教會服事，卻不供應他們日用所需。求主恩待、賜福每一位教會裡神的忠心僕人；也互相鼓勵: 「到那日」，我們都要站立在基督的審判台前 ，顯出我們金銀寶石的工夫並永遠服侍祂。
Monday, October 29, 2012
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