Wenzhou, the Jerusalem of China

( [email protected] ) Dec 16, 2003 11:05 AM EST

The district around Wenzhou City in Zhejiang Province has sometimes been called the "Jerusalem of China" because of the number of believers there. The area boasts 1,800 churches and meeting points. Altogether there are 600,000 believers in the area, who make up half the total number of believers within the whole province. Today, thanks to China’s economic freedom, Wenzhou is a prosperous and fast-growing city of six million citizens.

They are renowned throughout China for their diligence and hard work, for being keen businessmen, and for preserving their faith and identity. Wenzhou people has set a model both in economy and faith for china. Also wenzhou people are proud for sending missionaries to other district. with their economy developing, wehzhou people have largely emigrated and been all over the world.

However, as Shi Chenghui reports in the October edition of the Chinese church magazine Tian Feng, the area only has 34 pastors and 100 other specially-appointed pastoral workers. This means that there is only one pastor for every 2,000 believers and every 60 meeting points in Wenzhou. Wenzhou churches rely heavily on the ‘Marthas’ of the congregations – the volunteers who have always been ready to step in and offer help. This help is often an expression of their faith and gratitude to God. There are also more lay church workers today, and most of these have received formal training. But many churches have no proper lay workers and have to rely on volunteers, whose educational standards vary.

There are more than 3,000 church volunteers in this region, and the current challenge is to provide them with some form of training.