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The Chaos of a Rural Church in Central China

The Chaos of a Rural Church in Central China

Rural Church Rural Church(Pixabay)
ByCCD Contributor: Jin Zhu October 19, 2016
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In a village in central China, a Christian missionary called Jin Zhu has suffered from unequal treatment.  From the church's attitude towards her, we can see the chaos of the church.

The article will analyze the situation of the church from the perspective of the elders, Sunday school, believers, local Christian Councils and local non-believers.

The elders and administrators of the church are all females over the age of 60. These aunts fear that men will take place of them. There used to be male pastors but they were forced to leave.

More than a decade ago, Jin Zhu graduated from seminary and returned home to serve the church. However, Jin was suppressed by the elders. Working under the title of deputy pastor, Jin was not recognized by the church.

Jin's salary changed from 100 yuan to 300 yuan per month. When the elders and other people have meetings, they will cut out Jin. The church has never disclosed the assets of the church to her but Jin clearly knows that the church is not short of money.

When incidents happen to Jin's family, the church is indifferent. "The church came to me, telling me that I'm guilty and I shall have a confession in front of God. " After that, the church stopped giving salaries to her. Jin didn't receive any money during the confinement and sometimes she was paid every two-quarters. "I have no difference with volunteers." Kim said.

The elders also have their own ideas. They said: " We didn't have wages when we were volunteers!" They claimed that the church doesn't have enough dedication and the number of believers is less than 100. Jin was very angry because what they said was evidently untrue.

From 2003 to 2012, the monthly salary of Jin was always 100 yuan. In a church meeting, the elders decided to vote for Jin's salary. They suggested that her salary could range from nothing to 300 yuan. The church's pastors and deacons participated in the vote. It turned out that some people vote for "nothing" or "50 yuan per month". Luckily, most of them chose 300 yuan. Jin's salary has raised 300 CNY per month since then.

Jin's wages rose but she also received the words of elders: "You are paid so much. Serve God well!" Elders are not paid in the church but they all have a job in the society. Some of them work as doctors and some of them work as teachers. Some elders' husbands are officials. Even those who have retired have enough pension.

Jin Zhu cannot find other jobs because she would be titled as " greedy for the secular world" if she did so.  Elders have repeatedly said that pastors earning a salary are actually hired workers. They insisted that hired workers love money instead of God or believers.

They were proud that they do not earn a penny in the church and think they are loyal to God. Only Jin earns a salary in the church. In fact, Jin's family faces economic difficulties, the elders ignored this and laughed at her. They ask why Jin still lives in her mother's house. They told Jin she should buy a house for herself.

After Jin was established as deputy pastor, she did not hear the calling of "Pastor Jin" from the mouth of elders or believers in the church. Jin was a thorn in the elders' eyes.

The theme of each church meeting is to condemn Jin. She has been accustomed to it. Elders made different comments on Jin. Some said: "You are not allowed to speak Mandarin since the locals do not understand that!" Some prohibited her from spreading theological knowledge because they think believers do not understand Bible.

The pastors of the church start to suppress Jin before she came to serve God. When Jin was learning theology, the church only gave dedication to Jin's family once. They gave her mother a little money. Later on, Jin's mother visited elders and brought them milk, eggs and cakes in return. What she bought cost far more than the money she received from the church.

After graduation, many local churches did not dare to accept theological students. These church administrators are afraid that these students would threaten their positions. Jin went through all kinds of struggles to serve in a rural church.

When Jin reported her problems to local Christian Councils, they just turned a blind eye to her. They said to Jin: "You shall rely on God. We have met with your problems, too. God will bless you. No wage is okay since you are serving God! "

The church stipulates that missionaries shall pay for their accommodation when evangelizing in other places. However, they will settle pastors from the city or the province in high-level hotels and advanced restaurants.

Jin took her child to taekwondo classes. The elders said: " Why don't your child go to church Sunday school? You pay little attention to his spirit feeding!"

Jin' child did not like the church because he was bullied by the chief shepherd. Other believers follow the example. Jin feels numb now. She used to cry but now she has no tears.

 The believers Jin served also made her disappointed. They are not close to her. The elders in the church ask believers to call Jin teacher instead of a pastor. Some believers will ask: " Who is the most honored? The teacher, elder or pastor?" When Jin heard such words, she was helpless and worried.

Believers in the church are weathercock. They look down upon Jin because she is not rich. What Jin said to believers will soon be passed to the ears of the chief shepherd. "How terrible! None of the believers can be trusted." Jin said. She hasn't felt the spirit of Christianity from the church for a long time.

Jin sometimes wants to escape but she has always insisted on serving God. Jin's husband and friends always told her to leave the church and the unhappy things there.

In the eyes of the local non-believers, Christians are bad people. They say they are more cunning than secular people. The Christians in the church have a bad reputation in the community.

Jin cannot serve in any other local church because the family hereditary system is popular. Only the second generation of pastors and believers can go to a good church. Common people like Jin can't change the church easily.

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