The COVID-19 pandemic has a far-reaching impact on the modern world, and also the church.
The church has painful issues, including fewer tithes, which has given rise to a financial crisis.
A pastor said, “The church has no tithes or offerings as it couldn’t hold in-person services during the pandemic. This makes the poor rural churches worse. Pastors have stopped receiving meager salaries.”
In fact, the financial difficulty of the church is more prominent during the pandemic.
Pastor Z stated that not only the church faced a financial crisis during the pandemic.
“This is the living pressure of pastors and also the common pressure of the whole society. It is an issue that believers need to be taken care of,” said he.
He said that every person’s life has been affected due to the virus. Many enterprises and shops have been closed down, and employees lost their jobs.
“The income of the church’s believers is impacted, so naturally their tithes are reduced or zero. Naturally, the church is experiencing stress.”
If a church or pastor could get out of this predicament on their own, then it would not be tangled up with the current financial pressure.
In this special period, everything people have relied on has collapsed. This was the time when Christians should bring them the real “gospel”, to care for people and comfort them. It was also an urgent time to pastor and guide believers.
Pastor Z shared that pastors should work hard and pray for divine help to solve financial difficulties.
Pastor G from Jiangsu said that financial pressure was not the biggest dilemma for the church.
He added that pastors should give first priority on how to equip themselves. “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. The church does not need to be concerned about money because the house of God never lacks money. The key shortage lies in the spiritual life of the pastor.”
He believed that as soon as pastors did better in pastoral ministry, the life of their congregations would naturally grow and offerings would surely come in.
“If a pastor does not have a good life and a church is not well prepared, the church will lose its members and have no income when it resumes reopening. On the contrary, we should get ready. When the church is reopened, we can give more spiritual food to believers. I’m confident that believers will generously give their tithes.”
Pastor S, who was born after 1995, wrote an article about pastors’ low incomes.
It reads, “As a Gen Z, I expect the church to raise up more young people. I wish the system of the Chinese church would be improved and more pleasing to God... Why the church in coastal Jiangsu and Zhejiang spends some million and even ten million yuan to build church buildings, but has not considered that the system should be changed?
The moment I was called to be God’s servant, I had countless worries. I was anxious that I would live off my parents all my life... Predecessors and pastors of the church, do you know the difficulty of the little brat who thought he would get his parents in trouble after becoming a pastor when he was a teenager?
Isn’t this only because of my lack of faith? Or should the church reflect on itself? I think both are justified.”
He encouraged church leaders to reflect on a question – do pastors’ salaries conflict with faith?
“To serve is not for mammon. We the young generation must know this, but does the church offer more faith to young pastors on behalf of God? We don’t want to be NEET. This is our voice...”
Many readers felt the same as him. A comment said, “Your words are truthful. I’m helpless when it comes to pastors’ salaries...”
A Christian argued that pastors should have the courage to express their needs and not simply give spiritual answers to cover the problem. Pastors should be brave and let others see their weaknesses. How could a person who neglected his own needs be sympathetic to others’ needs?
Pastor G deemed that pastors had the right to claim their needs. After all, they have families to take care of.
Brother Y came to a county church in Fujian Province where he saw a paying model.
The leader of the church proposed a policy for pastors: pastors love the church 100 per cent and the church loves pastors 100 percent; the church supplies pastors’ meals, housing, transportation, and supports their children’s education. Even their weddings are held by the church.
Y said, “How couldn such a church not love its pastors?”
A great mass fervor of church construction occurred in the 1980s and 90s. Most of the tithes and offerings were used to build churches.
It is said that only ten percent of congregations give tithes. It’s very hard for the church to preach about tithing, but often it makes an appeal and gives encouragement on this topic.
Sister M, a rural pastor in Anhui, was unpaid during the COVID-19 lockdown as her registered church almost received no tithes. Later an upper-class church distributed financial aid to grassroots pastors, including her.
A believer whose income was severely affected during the lockdown in Guangdong stuck to tithing, even if the sum totalled only more than ten yuan.
In her eighties, an elderly sister from a church in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, placed three rolls of 100 yuan bills into an offering box.
A church volunteer talked about his moving experience of God’s grace. Three years ago, there were no full-time seminary graduates serving in his church. He never received any payment from the church since he started to work at the age of 25. In the process, he encountered many difficulties and almost gave up his ministry, but God made a way for him to solve every problem.
- Translated by Karen Luo