Ningxia Grassroots Pastor: Reasons Why the Baptism Number Decreases

27 seekers baptized on the annual baptism service in Zhongwei City Church on Aug. 28
27 seekers baptized on the annual baptism service in Zhongwei City Church on Aug. 28 (photo: Brother Huang )
By Grace ZhiSeptember 2nd, 2016

On August 28,  Zhongwei City Church of Ningxia held its annual baptism service and 27 catechumens were baptized. Talking about the change of the baptism number in recent years, Rev. Huang, the senior pastor, tells CCD that several reasons have resulted in the decline of these numbers, including the changeable believer structure, a high standard for baptism and economic difficulties.

He said that the only church in Zhongwei has around 1400 believers and about 500 regularly attend the services due to a high mobility of believers.

A high standard for baptism contributes a part of the low baptism numbers. Seekers are required to take the catechism weekly course lasting half a year before the request to receive the baptism is granted. Besides these courses, they need to pass the test after the end of the class. "Some people are afraid of the assessment, some can't insist on attending classes and others think that they are bonded after receiving baptism, who shall not smoke or drink. "

Huang regards that the financial pressure is a significant reason of the decline in the baptism number, saying that the majority of their villagers move to cities to make money and purchase apartments there, leaving the village only less than 38 households compared to 380 households in the past. There are Christians left in the village, who don't work hard or migrant to cities and many prefer to make money to buy apartments, thinking that they will go to church later. Gradually, they who hold that they are saved after converting lose the passion for faith and push for baptism some other time.

In addition, another church co-worker admits that the decline has something to do with the nurturing level of the church staff. "The church still lacks preachers who have received professional training. Some ministries cannot be well done with only enthusiasm.  The church should emphasize on training the staff to equip themselves with the truth in order to enhance their pastoring level."

It is said that the trends of decline in the baptism numbers in recent years not only appears in Zhongwei, but also in the whole Ningxia and even in the churches in most areas of the country. Secularization and financial pressure are two major reasons that should not be ignored for the crisis.

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