Since 2006, elementary and junior high education has been free of tuition in China but high school education can be very expensive, especially in the cities. Education of children is the biggest reason Chinese parents have for saving money. We pray for faith in God, knowing the Lord will provide for us and our children as we follow the Biblical duty God has given us to teach them to trust God.
The government in China encourages teachers to steer academic underachievers toward vocational schools. It also gives a subsidy of 1,500 yuan each to many of the rural vocational school students to help them with tuition.Being labeled an academic underachiever is a stigma many young people have to live with in China. We pray especially for those who are Christians, that the Lord will give them healthy self-esteem and a realization that God has a plan for their lives.
The fact is that vocational schools in rural China are really no better than their middle school counterparts. Schools in rural regions are blighted by scant funding and a staff of poor quality. The educational future of youth in rural China seems very dismal. This is exactly why we need to pray urgently for the education of the next generation of youth in the churches who are the future for the church in China.
The rural churches in China are in a transitional period. Many of them consist of mostly old people since the young ones (the so-called "migrant workers" who work in the fields of house remodeling, housekeeping, or recycling) have left to work in cities. Many Christians in the villages simply quit going to church because they are so busy or cannot find a church near them. We pray for those who have not been in church for some time. May the Holy Spirit stir them to seek a spiritual home and go to that church.
Most migrant workers get to return to their village only once a year--during Chinese New Year. For most migrant workers who are Christians that is the only time they are in church every year. Many migrant workers who are Christians are embarrassed, self-conscious, or even have an overwhelming inferiority complex in the church setting in the cities. May the Lord have mercy on them and help them to fit in to seek spiritual growth together with believers in the city.
China has a huge population of young people (100 million high school students), but the youth ministry in China has many challenges with few workers, low levels of education, along with pastors and parents who do not lend much support. Despite all of these difficulties and obstacles, we ask the Lord to be gracious to the youth of China. May He open the eyes of leaders in the church to see this huge need and commit to tackle it.
In many cities in China, the churches have gone "up-market" and are effective in reaching college students, graduates, and intellectuals only. However, there is a great need for these churches to develop a Biblically-based theology that is culturally and socially relevant. We praise God for bringing many highly-educated and professional people to the churches in China but we pray these same churches will not forget to minister to the poor and socially marginalized people.