TuesdayDuring the 1980's. soon after the Cultural Revolution, there was a great revival among China’s rural churches. But, the urban churches started to grow larger only after the Economic Reform and the subsequent migration of 300 million people into the cities. We commit to pray for the urban churches because they are still young and learning to face their own unique challenges, especially those of how to minister to believers who are busy professionals. May the Lord bless their ministries, especially those among young families.
Many of the urban house churches in China are changing from their previous hidden underground meetings to open public meetings. These churches are pushing themselves into the public domain and exploring how they will be accepted by the officials. These churches are surely blazing a new trail, not creating a church under a charismatic leader but rather "a church with rational organization". We pray they will be received and accepted by the government because they do represent the future of churches there.
As the urban house churches grow vibrantly and many of them become involved in social issues, there are certain serious issues they must face as churches. One of them is how Christian faith interacts with Chinese culture or how Christian theology is indigenized. We thank the Lord for the growth of the urban churches but we must also pray about the steady decline and languishing attitude in the rural churches. Although many believe these two extremes are inevitable, we have faith that God can do miracles and send revival once again.
Urban house churches in China are divided into two theological camps: Theological Confucianism--the merging of traditional values and practices with Christianity and Practical Theology --a church with a mission to involve and transform society.We pray that Chinese people will not reject the gospel because they see Christianity as a foreign religion nor will they despise Christians as a group of unconcerned people. May the Lord stir each of us to do good deeds because the compassion of Jesus compels us.
Management is a big challenge which the churches in China face. As long as churches are without legal statutes, the transition of leadership is murky, not clearly defined, and subject to favoritism or else controlled by the selected inner circle. We pray that all of the leaders of churches will follow and imitate the Great Shepherd with His humility and gentleness, not be seekers of power, fame, or money. We pray, too, for the refining fire that will cleanse each of us so we will share in His holiness.
House churches by and large are not transparent about their finances so they will not give government officials evidence to oppress them. However, this leads to poor accountability and allows abuses such as embezzlement, misappropriation of church funds and discourages church members from giving. We pray for integrity for those who are in charge of finances in the churches. May God protect them from all temptation and give them humility to be worthy stewards, not power brokers of church policies.
The church in China cannot remain at the stage of seeking miracles. It needs a large number of preachers who are capable of teaching and leading the church. Without deeper teaching of Biblical truth, new believers end up following all kinds of cults. We pray for all of the churches ravaged by the extreme and unsound teaching of cults. May the Lord have mercy on all of the lost sheep. We lift up those who are dedicated to training pastors for rural churches. May their work bring great reward even though the pastors they train are poorly paid and required to make many sacrifices. May God remember them.