China

The most populous nation in the world, China is home to over 1.4 billion people. Although COVID-19 first broke out in Wuhan, leading to socially and economically restrictive lockdowns in early 2020, China’s rebounding economy is expected to grow at least 8% this year. Compared to the 88% of Chinese who lived on less than $1.90 USD a day in 1981, shortly after Deng Xiaoping’s economic reforms launched in 1978, fewer than 1% live in extreme poverty today.

China has also experienced rapid urbanization and educational advancement, especially in STEM fields. In 1980, only 20% of Chinese lived in cities. Today, almost 60% live in urban areas. China has 160 cities with over one million residents (compared to ten cities in the US) and seven cities with over 10 million each.

The Church in China has also grown over the past 30 years. Experts project that China will be home to the world’s largest Christian population within the next 15 years. Although Christianity had largely thrived among rural, uneducated groups, much of the Church’s recent growth has been among young, university-educated urban professionals. Growth in registered and unregistered churches alike has led to an increasing need for trained pastors, especially those who can relate and minister to intellectuals.

In recent years, the Chinese government has tightened control over religious minorities, detaining at least one million Muslim Uighurs in concentration camps, shutting down and demolishing churches, arresting and surveilling prominent leaders, and censoring religious literature. Opposition to Christianity largely stems from religion’s historical ties to Western imperialism, underscoring the persisting need for Chinese theological leadership. Despite these challenges, the Chinese Church continues to take up the Great Commission both within and beyond Chinese borders.

Join us in praying for perseverance as Chinese Christians face increasing pressure and, in some places, persecution. Pray for Bible schools, seminaries, and theological leaders as they train a new generation of pastors. Pray for leaders who are called to write books and other resources to help the Church address the unique challenges facing Chinese society. Pray for Christian leaders in Hong Kong as they minister under new restrictions in the aftermath of the 2019-2020 mass protests.

To learn more about the Church in China, check out this educational feature on ScholarLeader Xue Xiaxia’s personal journey and her vision to reach Chinese intellectuals for Christ. Through Xiaxia’s story, learn about the Gospel’s complex and fascinating history in China, the origins of anti-Christian stereotypes, the difference between a Three-Self church and a house church, and how Chinese Christians are quietly influencing their country for Christ’s Kingdom.

Photo: “Sunset on the Li River, China” by Sam Beasley on Unsplash.

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