The living standard in both urban and rural churches in China has greatly improved. However, when it comes to spiritual growth, the giving of offerings and attendance at Bible courses there has been a weakening or even a lukewarm spirit in many. May the Lord guard His churches from the onslaught of materialism and affluence. May God help us each one to have a steadfast love for Him and never stop caring for the poor, weak and small churches.
House churches in Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces are greatly influenced by Shanghai churches. In terms of church administration and governance, churches have adopted the “federation model”, meaning their churches are usually tightly banded. We pray that all pastors will have the heart of both a servant and a shepherd so they will be truly humble and exude the fragrance of our Lord, not just enjoy the respect others of others and expect it.
Those who serve in churches, seminaries, and Bible schools in China receive little compensation. In second or third tier cities monthly wages are often less than $500 USD, but in the villages it can be as low as $150 USD or even less. We pray that Christians in China will value their pastors and care for the needs of their families so they can serve without worry or anxiety. "Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor." (Gal.6:6 NIV)
In the impoverished provinces, believers still hold the idea that "poverty makes better pastors, so they will have more faith". Many churches spend on building, rather than increase the pastor's wage. Pastors are very busy serving in the church and often neglect their family time. We pray for God to bless them with a healthy family life, especially in the areas of marriage and parent-child relationship.
Pastors often feel guilt and shame along with the conflicting feeling of gratification when their children gain admission to a university because they know they are not able to afford the huge financial burden which that causes (tuition, board and room cost $3000. US yearly. )We pray that pastors will have faith knowing God will bless their children because they are following God's plan themselves. We pray that children of the pastors will also know that the Lord will provide for their needs because they are blessed.
Many Chinese pastors or Bible teachers tend to focus only on the exposition of Bible, neglecting the application. They often do not incorporate real life applications in their sermon preparation. Imbalance of Biblical knowledge and application is evident among many Chinese believers. We pray that our faith is not merely knowledge but a transforming power of the Spirit that sets us apart for His sake.
Pastors in China tend to give the standard answer of "Have faith in God" whenever anyone (including themselves) struggles with doubts and questions. This answer has limited value. We pray that pastors will get training that will help them to observe, think, and make application from the Bible. May the Lord grant them sincerity and boldness to share their inadequacies and failure with those who struggle.