This entry is part 7 of 25 in the series 30 Days on the Chinese Church

Sometimes the way that things are actually done in a church are a better indicator of the true structure than what is written on paper. I want to follow up the last few posts on the stages of develop of the English Ministry by illustrating it with pictures of our old and new church office mailboxes.

CFC Old MailboxesWhen I first arrived at CFC in 1994 we were using the old mailboxes that you see in the picture on the right (click on the picture to see a larger image). There was a series of mail slots, all but one labeled only in Chinese, with the following categories:

  • Deacons
  • Finance
  • Missions
  • English Ministry
  • Women’s Bible Study
  • Young Adult Fellowship
  • College Fellowship
  • Youth Fellowship
  • English Fellowship

English Fellowship mail slotThe final mail slot had an English translation. I don’t know how old this mailbox is, but it appeared fairly old in 1994. It is interesting that the English Ministry is seen as one department among many. There is also an “English Fellowship” which is in parallel with all the other Chinese fellowships. I’m not sure what the relationship was between “English Ministry” and “English Fellowship.” I’m also not sure whether the “Youth Fellowship” refers to the English Youth Fellowship or to the Chinese Youth Fellowship that we once had. Maybe one of the CFC old-timers can tell me. It is significant that even the “English Ministry” slot is labeled only in Chinese. This was appropriate for an earlier stage of development of the church, but even in 1994 we had already moved beyond that.

CFC New MailboxesThe new mailboxes were set up around 2003 or 2004. The mailbox is set up in three columns, which are for “Church Staff,” “English Ministry Departments” and “Chinese Ministry Departments.” The Church Staff section includes the pastoral staff, support staff, and treasurer. You probably can’t read all the labels, but they all include English and some include Chinese as well. Quite a change from the old mailboxes!

I’m sure that no one is really interested in exactly how we organize our mailboxes at CFC, but I thought that these pictures display the transition in our church structure in a very concrete way. The old mailboxes belong to the time of a Paternal Model in the relationship between the Chinese and English Ministries, while the new mailbox evidences our Parallel Model. The two mailboxes have a story to tell, and I wanted to share it with you.

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  1. Invitation: Is anyone interested in viewing my churches “mailbox” and commenting?

    Please view our website:

    What does this suggest to you about the integreation of our congregations?

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