TuesdayChina overtook India as the top gold importing and gold jewelry country. The insatiable appetite does not include gold sold in Hong Kong, which is favored by Mainland tourists and enjoyed an increase of 28% this year. Believers are buying houses, cars and gold too, but many churches are seeing decline in attendances in weekday services and no visible increase in church’s offering. We pray for a passion for God, hunger for His Word and thirst for spiritual renewal for all churches.
Many Christians have an overly optimistic view of church growth in China which even borders on wishful thinking. Some have claimed that the number of Christians in China will reach 200 million by 2020 which is an utterly irresponsible projection. We praise God for the miraculous growth of the church in China and we pray that they will not lose sight of the vision and passion of evangelism. We ask that the fire of the Holy Spirit will continue to burn strongly throughout the churches in China.
The booming period of church growth in China has passed and during the past decade it has slowed down significantly. The future growth of the church there is also projected to be slow as well. Christians remain a minority group in China and many people there have never even heard of Jesus. In many regions of western China it is very difficult to find Christian churches and there are even fewer believers than in other areas. Even in the cities there churches are small, weak, and barely surviving. We pray for a revival of believers and the renewal of their passion to share Christ.
Since the economic reform there, China has become urbanized and so has the strategy for evangelism. Chinese pastors used to each cover several meeting points and were not familiar with their members. Now, more churches have their own pastors who do not have to travel around. Let us pray for the churches that do not have a pastor and ask the Lord to give them mature believers who are humble and willing to serve so they can care for and feed God’s sheep. We also pray that believers will not dump all the work of caring for others on their pastors.
As the use of the Internet has become more prevalent, believers in China can obtain and compare online sermons. This is a trend in the churches there as believers become more educated and intellectual. We pray especially that pastors in China will be bold, wise, and make good application of God’s Word. We also ask the Lord to give believers humility and teachable hearts.
Many pastors in mainland China get their training in Hong Kong or Singapore. However, they tend to become “more preaching and less action” like pastors abroad. It is also difficult to apply what they learn in terms of church revival so they create much tension when they return to China. All the training conducted in the past decades has indeed benefited many pastors and helped to improve their Biblical knowledge. We pray for quality students, godliness, and integrity for all of the pastors. May the Lord of the harvest grant us mercy and give His sheep many faithful shepherds.
The house church movement in mainland China is moving toward being more open. There is more dialogue and sharing of information between the house churches and the Three-self churches so that there is more understanding between the leaders. We pray there will be more exchange among the believers of all churches. We pray for those who worship in the open churches but attend fellowships in the house churches. We ask the Lord for churches that will be more accepting of each other rather than critical or even forbid members to participate in the functions of the other group.