Gao Yong’s concerned relatives advised him against entering the ministry in China as it’s a very unstable career.

Entering the ministry in China: trusting God’s call

Entering the ministry in China can be a very tough career choice, but more people are answering God’s call, encouraged by your prayerful support of training programmes.

When 36-year-old Gao Yong felt called to enter full-time Christian ministry, his relatives advised him against it. 

‘My child was just 6 months old,’ recalled Gao, who graduated from Shandong Seminary in East China this year.

It is perhaps unsurprising that some of Gao’s relatives were not keen on his proposed career path, as entering full-time ministry in China usually means giving up a stable income. 

But Gao, who now serves at a church in Shandong, was undeterred. ‘I’ve worked in a company and I was even my own boss when I started a business, but all these jobs did not bring lasting satisfaction. I watched with envy pastors who are in the business of transforming lives,’ he said.

Wang Zheng, 46, also made a mid-life career switch a few years ago. He used to work in the music industry but later decided to enroll at Huadong Theological Seminary in Shanghai.

Church worker Wang Zhen

‘Since becoming a believer, I’ve been convinced that I should use my talents and gifting to serve God,’ shared Wang, who serves full time in the worship and choir ministry in his church after graduating last year with a degree in church music. 

Feng Chao, 39, who has been serving in a rural church in Shandong since 2018, said, ‘For many years, I’ve sensed in my heart the calling for full-time ministry. But it was difficult to surrender to the Lord until 2015, when I finally made the decision to answer the call.’

Thanks to the kind giving of Bible Society supporters, greater foundations are being laid that enable people to make the difficult decision to enter the ministry. The generosity of people such as yourselves is enabling more training programmes to be set up for church workers and more scholarships to be awarded to Bible students in China. 

Low or no pay for the preachers 

Many pastors and preachers in China are not paid a regular salary, especially those who serve in rural areas. One of the main reasons behind this is that many of the Christians in China in these areas are elderly and poor. They just don’t have the money to tithe or give offerings to the church. 

So it is not unusual for pastors and preachers to work part-time to support themselves and for some to eventually quit and return to full-time employment.

Pandemic made things worse

With the pandemic, financial instability became more acute. In some churches, offerings fell by 30 per cent and the livelihood of pastors and preachers was adversely affected. 

For example, Gao shared that some recent seminary graduates assigned to his church have been advised to find employment outside, as the church has struggled to pay them during this period. 

Perhaps he too may need to do that and he worries about the future development of the church post-pandemic. 

However, dismal financial prospects has not deterred Han Xue, 25, to fulfil her promise made to God when she was in high school to enter full-time ministry. 

‘The faith of my grandmother and mother has had a great influence on me. If I were to choose again, I would still serve God full-time,’ said Xue, who graduated from a seminary college in 2018.

In a second story next Thursday, you will see how the coronavirus pandemic not only brought financial challenges to church leaders in China, but also increased the threat of cult groups that claim to be Christian.

Support pastor training in China now

You might also be interested in...

Bringing the Bible to life

Bible Society, Stonehill Green, Westlea, Swindon, SN5 7DG. Registered charity 232759

Read the Bible icon Read Bible
Open full Bible