Farming was once the noblest profession in China but now farmers are in disarray. Frustrated by how little they earn, the ablest farmers have migrated to the cities leaving the rural district in the heartland hollow. The numbers of young believers and the church offerings have both declined precipitously in rural regions so we pray for both mercy and grace from God to come to those churches that have no pastor or cannot afford to have one. May the Lord give them revival.
In some regions of China, especially the larger villages, it is not unusual to find large church buildings built for a congregation of hundreds of people and even have fully equipped but often vacant training center. Many rural churches spent money on buildings but refuse to hire pastors. We pray that rural Christians will be good stewards of God’s resources, and they should invest not only in the facility but also the people.
In China, farm output remains high, but rural living standards have stagnated compared with the cities, and few in the countryside see their future there. Income of urbanites are more than three times of rural residents, making China one of the most unequal societies in the world. Most rural churches are left with old people, children and women, but they still need a full time staff to minister to them. We pray that rural believers would not feel defeated and despondent, incapable of serving God, but rather trusting Him to do great things for them.
Farms in China are too small to generate large profits, about 1.6 acres on average, compared with 400 acres in the United States. Yet it is difficult to consolidate these farms into larger, more efficient operations because Chinese farmers lease land from the government. The majority of Christians in China are still farmers. We pray for revival of all of the rural churches, especially those under the attack of cults and those that are led astray by extreme teachings.
Privatizing farmland would allow market forces to create bigger farms. But, land privatization is completely taboo, because the Party was born and came to power on the premise of destruction of large and wealthy farmers. We pray for those who remain in the rural churches, especially pastors and lay leaders, that the Lord will help them not to become discouraged, but to serve the flocks God entrusted to them with all of their minds, hearts and strength.
Land privatization can exacerbate inequality by concentrating land in the hands of a few while leaving many rural families without farms to fall back on if they hit hard times in the cities. Such a scenario is a political minefield for the Communist Party. As villages urbanize, the idyllic lifestyle of the old ways disappears and church attendance has dropped as well. We pray for adaptation and a more purposeful ministry approach so rural believers will still have the close fellowship they once did.
Recently, an experiment is underway in parts of China, called “liuzhuan” (turning over), which stops short of privatization of farmland but gives farmers land-use rights that they can transfer to others in exchange for a rental fee. Many are not optimistic about the future of rural churches in China but we are confident that God can bring revival to them and we pray that the people in those churches will once again serve the Lord greatly.
中國個人農田的面積太小，無法有高收益。農田的平均面積為1.6英畝 （美國是400英畝）。由於農民並不擁有土地，所以不能合併為面積更大、更有效率的耕種。 農村信徒佔中國信徒的大多數。我們為農村教會在沒落中能再次復興迫切禱告，求主拯救和保守教會不受異端和邪教攻擊，幫助信徒有屬靈的分辨力，認識主的聲音。