TuesdayPeople in China realize that the economy is not growing as fast as before and that it will certainly have an impact on their appetite for shopping which reflected in a slowdown in retail purchase. The willingness of believers to give to the church is greatly affected by the economy. May the Lord help each one of us so our faith will not be shaken but we will trust our heavenly Father to care for us.
The average household in China saves as much as forty percent of its income. In contrast, the savings rate in the United States is 5.2 percent and in Japan it is 1.8 percent. It will not be easy to get these people who are used to saving money to spend it. Saving is a virtue of Chinese people but it also deeply affects how the church works and how the pastors are compensated with too small salaries. May the Lord help us to be generous in our giving to God and His church.
Most people in China have to save for retirement and health care expenses since the social welfare system of the country needs further development. Many people also save for education. Pastors in the house churches have a low salary, lack insurance for health needs or retirement, and have no funds for their children's education. We pray for God's grace and provision for all who serve God and that He will remind churches to honor their shepherds.
The government of China introduced short-term programs to spur spending. Cities handed out coupons to local stores and restaurants. In the rural areas, people were given rebates to buy big-ticket items like televisions, washing machines, and refrigerators. Life in the villages has improved greatly but church attendance has dropped. We pray for revival of rural churches in China so believers are not distracted by the ever-abundant entertainment and give up their church fellowship and prayer.
The government of China has recently focused on introducing a nationwide pension system which provides universal medical insurance and upgrades the educational system. Many elderly people in China receive some governmental pension money so their livelihood is not a problem if they have children to support them. We pray for all of the seniors that the Lord will give them a healthy spirit to encourage each other and be models for other people in the churches.
The growth in average wages rose by about ten percent in China last year but the total growth in wages actually slowed down because private firms were facing great financial difficulty and their basic costs continued comparatively high. Last year the salaries of very few pastors were adjusted upward. We pray that believers in China will care more about their pastor's family and even more importantly become friends with their pastors.
Some factors which contribute to young people turning to Christianity are: distrust for society as a whole, being an only child, the highly-competitive job market, an excessive information overload, and a broken family. We believe God has a beautiful plan for college students who come to know Him and we pray that all of the churches in China will see how critical it is to reach college students now.