Asian Americans are the fastest growing racial/ethnic group in the past decade, cf. Census 2010. This situation ought to prompt new activities among the over 7,000 Asian American churches in the United States. While a majority of these primarily have Asian-language worship services & ministries, there’s bound to be some level of innovation, churches breaking stereotypes of focusing on immigrants only, and realizing that Gospel mandate to take an actively intentional role in extending ministry to English-speaking and non-Asian-language speaking in its community and around the world.
Running on the assumption that good news travels fast, this is a short list of “successful” ethnic Chinese churches that I hear about out of an estimated 1,200 Chinese churches [need your help! add a comment + add to this list]:
- River of Life Christian Church (Santa Clara, CA) and New Life Christian Church of OC (Irvine) [! even Celebrate Recovery in Chinese !]
- Bay Area Chinese Bible Church (Alameda and San Leandro, CA)
- Chinese Church in Christ (6 locations in San Francisco Bay area) – one of them being Jeremy Lin’s home church
- First Evangelical Church Association
- West Houston Chinese Church
- Chinese Bible Church of San Diego (multi-site church with 6 campuses)
- Mandarin Baptist Church of LA (they have a mobile app!)
- Crosspoint Church of Silicon Valley
- First Chinese Baptist Church, Walnut (Calif)
And I’ll call upon my colleagues, KAMR and KCCD, who are much more knowledgeable about the Korean American church world, to make a similar note about their context, since I’m not Korean, and I wouldn’t want to shortchange all the good things that may be happening among some 4,000 Korean American churches.
Innovation happens everywhere. And going across the pond, there are things stirring in mainland China too. Influential Chinese economist Zhao Xiao reported that there’s a church in China with 100,000 congregations, each consisting of average 50 people, so the total combined size is over five million. Though that’s not the normal way of counting church size, it’s worth noting as a different “innovative” model of church in our fast-changing world.
On a broader perspective, also glean from John Kao‘s series about the state of innovation in China (posted at CNN’s Global Public Square) –
- China as an Innovation Nation - provided a portrait of China’s innovation drive, describing its scale and success model
- Why is innovation so important to China? - the historical context for the centrality of innovation in China’s national strategy; the country that invented the compass, gunpowder and printing
- Chinese innovation – paper tiger or king of the hill? - beyond the “black or white” rhetoric that characterizes much of the current debate on how real and significant China’s innovation drive
- In search of the Chinese entrepreneur - ” with profiles of Aigo’s Feng Jun and Sundia’s Xiochuan Wang
- Innovation war or innovation peace?” – potential for both conflict and cooperation in the U.S.-China innovation relationship
- Engage China with guarded openness - be open to sharing information and to collaboration, but exercise prudence and caution