- New Series: 30 Days on the Chinese Church
- Developmental Stages of a Chinese Church
- The CFC Story: Moving toward Maturity
- Why Translated Services Don’t Work
- Growing Pains
- Models of Ministry in Chinese Churches
- A Tale of Two Mailboxes
- Why we don’t have a Senior Pastor
- Unity and Diversity in a Chinese Church
- Maintaining Unity in a Chinese Church
- The Resource Pyramid
- Why Leadership Training is Job #1
- How to Equip Spiritual Leaders
- Leadership and Culture
- Leadership and Culture (Part 2)
- The Jerusalem Council: Consensus Decision Making
- English Ministry Pastor Shortage
- Reaching Adults: The Importance of Ownership
- The Power of Vision
- Caring for Co-workers
- Culture and Biblical Truth
- What about Asian American Churches?
- Advice to a Young ABC Pastor
- Advice to an OBC Senior Pastor
- Reflections on a Series
During the month of May I am going to write a series of articles on the Chinese church. Today is already May 2, but since May has 31 days I still can get in a 30 day series. I plan to write something every day, as much as possible. But I don’t plan to write anything on Sunday, since that is a busy ministry day for me. Maybe if I get especially ambitious I will write two articles on Saturdays to make up for it. This is the first time that I have attempted to write such an intensive series, so it should be quite an adventure. I hope that you will join me for the ride.
What is this series about?
I plan to write about ministry in Chinese churches in North America, with a focus mainly on the English Ministry (EM). Ministry in a bilingual immigrant church presents some unique challenges because these churches include multiple languages and cultures. All the normal tensions and differences of opinion are multiplied because of the cultural difference. Sometimes it feels like a struggle to maintain unity, and leaders in some churches wonder if it wouldn’t be easier to become two separate churches. But as long as there are Chinese speaking immigrants we must find ways to nurture healthy bilingual churches that can minister effectively to both generations.
I am writing from an EM (English Ministry) perspective, but I really am concerned about the entire church. As we often say in the Chinese church, the church is like a big family. When one portion of the family is hurting, the entire family is affected. When there is a problem to be solved, the entire family needs to be a part of the solution.
Why am I doing this?
I have held my current position as English Pastor at Chinese for Christ Church in Berkeley, CA for 13 years. Prior to that I spent four years as a missionary in Taiwan, where I had the opportunity to learn a lot about Chinese language and culture. I speak Mandarin, although my reading skills have gone downhill quite a bit since our return from Taiwan 16 years ago.
I share this information about my background so that you will understand why this white guy thinks he can write something about the Chinese church. I do not consider myself an expert, but I have learned a lot over the years. A few years ago I had the privilege in working with three other pastors to teach a course on Ministry in the Chinese Church at Western Seminary. Many with whom I have shared some of these insights have urged me to write something on this topic.
I also have a very pragmatic reason for writing this series. I am currently working on my D.Min. at Western Seminary, and my dissertation is on English ministry in the Chinese Church. I am working on writing some sections of my dissertation, and I want to share some of my thinking here and receive your feedback. I really do want this to be a discussion, as I know that there are many ministry leaders out there who know a lot more than I do. I would love to learn from you. But I will only learn something if you write a comment, so please add your comments to these articles. If you write an especially insightful comment you may even get a quotation and a footnote in my dissertation! Think of it as an easy way for you to get your name in print.
I especially want to invite the input of OBC pastors and church leaders. I believe that it is essential in this discussion that we have input from both OBC and ABC leaders, and I value your insight.
Finally, please tell others who might be interested about this series. My blog doesn’t have that many readers, and I think that this discussion would be more helpful to all of us if it included a wider circle of people.
What do you think?
- What do you think are the greatest challenges facing Chinese immigrant churches in reaching the second generation?
- What topics would you like to see discussed in this series?