Article Review: “Church Development in Remote Parts of China” in Pray for China, February-March Issue 2010.
Much like the economic situation in China, there is a significant disparity between rural and coastal churches in terms of development. The idea of church development includes not only financial resources, but also theological resources and outreach abilities. Without these resources, churches struggle to sustain themselves, and are unable to focus on growth and development. This article emphasizes the misinterpretations that arise when rural pastors do not have access to spiritual materials to help them understand the Bible. Without resources, one church is unable to hold Bible studies, only convening twice a year in a lecture format to look at the text of their religion collectively. A main cause of this deficiency is the financial plight of rural churches. Rural preachers receive less financial contributions from congregants, and they often have to seek employment outside of their role in the church. They struggle to maintain their livelihoods, and are unable to purchase supplies needed to develop the ministry of their churches or to expand their reach.
With donations of resources, the problems of rural churches would certainly decrease. The author points out the need for Christians who possess these materials to donate books, training, and money to wanting rural churches. Not only do churches need tools to develop their theological practices, but they need goods for ministry, as well. For example, this winter worshipers in Anhui province experienced record low temperatures without heating devices or warm clothes. The disparity between rural China and the coastal region has been a prominent part of discussions about China’s growing economic might. This newsletter’s discussion of church development shows that the disparity is not limited to economic expansion. The gap between the rural areas and the coastal region affects multiple aspects of Chinese society.