Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Prayer Request 12/9 - 12/15

TuesdayIn China, the sale of cosmetics now outstrips that of groceries in supermarket. In 2013​ Chinese women spent 13.3% more on cosmetics than in the year before. The disposable income of the average Chinese has definitely increased in recent years. Churches, however, have a difficult time preaching about giving, due to the lack of transparency in the use of church finances. Let us pray for increased giving by all Christians, not just that toward the renovation of the building.
In the cosmetics market in China in 2013, European brands led all others but Korean brands are also very popular due to their association​ with the well-liked K-pop and actresses on Korean soap operas. We praise the Lord for the support and teaching the Korean churches have given in China in the past twenty years. There are still more gospel workers in China from Korea than from any other country. May the Lord bless and reward all the churches in Korea that send them.
Foreign brands of cosmetics been selling well in China, but Chinese own brands of cosmetics have yet to catch on. ​Some of them have been given names in Chinese that when pronounced phonetically, sound very much like French brand names. When it comes to worship style and methods of outreach, churches in China value tradition and usually are not willing to try something new. We pray for renewal of churches that will help them not to be afraid of spirit-guided and vision-driven ministries that are full of passion.
Every year many people are baptized in the churches in China but still many are lost to the church due to a lack of good follow-up. Every church needs to ask why the sheep don't stay and the leaders must face that issue.​ ​We pray that God will stir us up to heed the problem of the exodus and loss of believers from the church. We need to be very concerned that our churches fail to grow and stand in the gap to keep the sheep from leaving the flock.​
Many​ of the churches in China have experienced growth but then reach a bottleneck and stop growing even though there are new people joining. This has led to a saying in China that "pastors are made of steel but believers flow like water from one church to another." ​May God alert us to the terrible problem of loss of believers that many churches are experiencing. The problem is found in both urban and rural churches but the reasons behind it are different.​
​Since the government has relaxed its religious policies, the number of churches in China has exploded. In the meantime pastors find themselves overwhelmed with sermon preparation and little time or energy to care for the growing number of believers. ​As a result, many believers in China​ do not receive any personal attention from their pastors and we want to pray for them. May the Lord give every believer the proper pastoral attention and fellowship from brothers and sisters so they will be nurtured and grow spiritually.
Urban​ churches in China no longer face the challenge of having too few copies of the Bible or a safe place to worship. Their real challenge is the inability to retain believers due to a lack of the solid preaching of the Word of God and a general lack of commitment to God and their church. We pray that every church will provide the warmth of a family for every member, attracting and retaining newcomers. We also pray that believers will be loving and caring, not only their own circle of friends but every new comer.

化妝品是當今的中國百貨店最大的賣點,遠超過食物及雜貨。根據2013 年的資料,婦女花在化妝品的購買,每年有13.3的增長率。近幾年中國人生活普遍富裕起來,但是教會信徒的奉獻卻沒有相對的增加,傳道人也難強調奉獻的重要性,因為許多教會的財政收支缺少透明度。 求主幫助信徒甘心樂意為事工增加奉獻,而不是單單為了建堂奉獻。
本土的化妝品品牌還沒有真正建立好品牌形象,泊來品化妝產品在中國銷售成績持續亮麗,。 一些國產品牌特意取發音時聽起來像法國的名牌化妝品的中文名字。論到敬拜方式,行政及傳福音,中國教會一向是偏於保守、講究傳統,很少會給予新的嘗試或創新。我們要為教會的更新禱告,求主時時啟示事工異象,也幫助弟兄姐妹願意順從聖靈的導引,心志火熱的跟隨基督 。
一般而言,當教會發展到一定階段,便出現了「瓶頸」,明明有很多新的信徒加入教會,可信徒人口基數增長卻並不顯著。因此,不少人戲稱教會是「鐵打的牧師,流水的信徒」。 求神提醒我們,多關心現今教會非常嚴重的信徒流失問題。雖然農村教會和城市教會的影響原因不盡相同,但是會友流失的問題同樣嚴重。求主賜給我們智慧,知道信徒流失的原由,和解決之道。

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