In Taiwan, living as a working class person is hard & discouraging, not only because they have to work long hours with low pay, but because one of the main ways to advance in society is through education. However, a typical working class person will only have a high school diploma or less. Even if they go beyond high school, it’s usually technical training. So there’s limit to how far one will go up in the society. The types of work they do vary from shop workers, street vendors & restaurant workers to department store clerks and the like. According to Phil Nicholson, a former OMF Taiwan field director, all this contributes to the many working class people’s sense of failure in life, and that sense of failure & frustration manifest themselves in many addictive behaviors (alcohol, smoking, gambling), domestic abuse both physical & sexual, family breakdown & even illegal activities like theft & fraud.
What has been one of the major barriers in reaching out to the working class is the fact that the working class and the Church cultures are so different. Taiwanese church mainly consists of Western educated & influenced middle class, and the average working class people do not feel comfortable in the church setting where the atmosphere is serious, academic, strict, not to mention one must dress up for the worship service.
But the hope of reaching out to the working class lies in the pattern that Jesus has demonstrated (Please see “Sharing Christ.”).