Editor’s note: This year, we are praying for cities across China. We begin our year by praying for Beijing, China’s capital city. To help us pray wisely and specifically, Melody, a pastor’s wife, shared with us about how Beijing people are responding to the gospel these days, and about how those of us outside of Beijing can prayerfully support Christians in the city.
This is the second of a two-part interview; part one can be found here.
China Partnership: There have been a lot of big changes in Beijing over the last several years. How has the way people are receiving the gospel changed? What does it look like to do gospel ministry, and what is the spiritual environment of the people your church is sharing with?
Melody: I think a very important event occurred before the 20th National Congress in Beijing. Someone hung a sensational [protest] banner from the Sitong Bridge. The situation was quickly resolved by the government, but many people heard that man’s cries for a better life. He gave voice to many people’s thoughts and expectations for their lives. After that, many people had an awakening.
The dreams of many people in Beijing have been shattered. Many of the normal people have become more awake. They no longer dream of making a lot of money here, of realizing the China Dream. Slowly, a lot of people, including non-Christians, are realizing there is something wrong with this kind of life and this kind of management. Although they never thought about these issues before, people are beginning to think that freedom is very important.
The dreams of many people in Beijing have been shattered. Many of the normal people have become more awake.
Before, people just thought about earning money and buying an apartment. Now, people are thinking about the meaning of life, about their spiritual lives. For instance, taxi drivers will bring these things up. They are thinking more about what they want to live for, and the topics of faith and love are being mentioned more often.
CP: How is your church in Beijing praying for and serving their neighbors? How can those outside of Beijing pray for you?
Melody: Our church has been continuously praying for this city. Our prayer strategy is to have a church prayer meeting once every other week. We pray kingdom-centered prayers, which have been a great blessing to our church. Because we pray in this way, everyone can come to know things from God’s perspective, and go back to their relationship with God, before thinking about their relationships with those in this city. Every two weeks we practice praying in this way, and as we do this, we love praying more and more.
My husband is a pastor, and he regularly leads prayer services for people from all walks of life. We pray for all sorts of officials: officials in the city, managers in Beijing, children, students, teachers, and others from different areas. We reserve a special section of the pastor’s prayer time to especially pray for the city. We also pray for the people of other countries.
Our ministry focuses quite a bit on schools, because many churches began through campus ministry. While there have been many Christians on school campuses over the past 10 years, since 2018, campus ministry has become very difficult. Now, it is difficult for the gospel to reach the campuses, as the controls over the university campuses are very strict. Many of the students in the midst of our church are themselves PhD students. We shepherd those doctoral students, and then they have the opportunity to make contact with other students. They often organize meals and gatherings for the students.
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These days, some churches use large rooms in teahouses to meet, and the staff at the teahouse serve our people as they gather each week. So, even though there are difficulties, there are many opportunities to communicate with and evangelize the waiters and staff in those buildings. This is one of the ways our church can reach out to and serve those in our city.
Before, people just thought about earning money and buying an apartment. Now, people are thinking about the meaning of life, about their spiritual lives.
How can others pray for our city? I will only share a little bit right now. There is a team that is serving Beijing, especially pastor’s wives in this city. Please pray for us; there is a lot of passion in this group.
I am thankful to see deeper and deeper friendships between some of the pastors in our city. We see different pastors in our city doing cancer care, biblical counseling, Christian education, and church planting. The leaders that we are in contact with have hearts that are willing to serve the church, and there is a lot of potential. Please pray that these leaders will be motivated to focus on the gospel!
Sometimes, I am afraid that churches will only focus on serving the city of Beijing, but as they do that, they will lose the focus on the gospel. The gospel is most important. We really hope that we are able to believe the power of the gospel, and go forward in this direction.
Another area that is in need of prayer is that we hope more and more pastors will focus on the vision of the city as a whole, not just their own churches. I hope that more and more pastors in Beijing will be able to commit themselves to the urban gospel movement.
Pray for unity in this team as leadership is often changing, and pray that our team will have a united heart as we go forward.
Melody (a pseudonym) lives in Beijing. She has a warm family of five which includes her husband, two children, and her mother-in-law. She is a pastor’s wife, and a favorite hobby is plaza dancing.
Pray for churches in Beijing to focus on the gospel as they love others, and to move forward in the power and strength of the gospel.