Jan 312013

Welcome to old friends and new visitors here to djchuang.com! You’ve come at an opportune time for my initiative called “February is Fundraising.”

I’m very grateful for the response to the OC Register article about next-gen multi-Asian churches, as Asian American churches are growing in creative ways to reach all peoples in Orange County, California, and beyond.

That article has also prompted me to step out in faith and commit more of my time and energy to serve this next generation as my full-time work. I’ll be fundraising for my staff position with Ambassador Network. I’ve never done this before in my life, so it is with mixed emotions, both faith and fear, to put myself out here.

For the entire month of February, I’ll be making a daily video update (powered by Google+ Hangout on Air.) This means it’ll be a live recording and you can watch in real-time or on-demand. It’s like reality TV but with no editing.

Unfortunately, my schedule is too erratic to set a consistent time for the livestream, but I am aiming to finish recording before 5:00pm (Pacific Time) each day. Follow me on Twitter @djchuang for when I go live on air. Submit your questions in a comment here, via email, or any of the social networks I’m on (use buttons on the upper right corner of this page).

As the saying goes, I’m “building the plane as it flies.” I’m building a topics list as I think about all the things I want to share with you — suggestions welcome! I’ll be talking about many things like: the need for this kind of work to plant new kinds of churches; what my work will look like when I say I will be working to strategize, coach, and resource multi-Asian and multi-ethnic churches; the Biblical reasons for fundraising, and what better way than to crowdsource it in the 21st century; tips and insights about professional fundraising from my 15+ years of experience working in the fundraising world, both in a large non-profit and in a private foundation; hear the back story of how the article came about; my history with Ambassador Bible Church (in Virginia) and how Ambassador Network was launched. Plus, I’m looking to have special guests join me on the Hangout.

And I’ll also give updates on how my fundraising is going, my goals and budgets and all that jazz. I want to be do fundraising in this way and be totally transparent, because accountability and financial responsibility is so very important. (I think you’d agree.) I love how Marin Foundation provides full disclosure and I want to do similarly.

It’ll be fun to connect with you in this way! I want to educate and share what I know, to help others working in cause-oriented non-profits to make the world a better place. I do hope you’ll join me to giving hope to 18+ million Asian Americans and 7+ billion people around the world. As we partner together, may many more churches flourish, the tribes thrive, and all peoples prosper!

Jan 272013

The OC Register (our local newspaper with a circulation around 300,000) and reporter Jim Hinch posted this article, “O.C. exports Asian American churches to the world” (cached), telling the compelling story of Asian American churches and my story too. Thank you OC Register!O.C. exports Asian American churches to the world

Here’s links to all the goodies mentioned in that article, and some extras:

The print edition of the article also carries the headlines, “A local consultant and an evolving population combine to explore new ways of worshipping.” and “Asian Americans find God beyond traditional pulpit.” The lead-in on the front-page “Finding their Faith: Asian Americans use inclusiveness to spread growing message of faith.” ::

Over the past generation, a number of Orange County churches have thrived by serving mostly Asian American worshippers.

Now, some of those same churches are spreading beyond the county to places such as London, Mexico City, and Manila.

How? By emphasizing social causes. And embracing multiculturalism. And, generally, reaching into an often non-Asian world.

A local church consultant who has helped spur the expansion says Asian American Christianity can happen anywhere — and everybody is welcome.

… D.J. Chuang has ideas about Asian American churches.

Lots of ideas.

He has ideas about online-only Asian churches, about so-called “next-gen multi-Asian churches,” and about churches frequented by Asian Indian, Chinese, Taiwanese, Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese worshippers. [read the full article] (cached)

Jan 232013

I have a dream for Asian Americans, all 18 million Asian Americans, the fastest growing racial/ethnic group in the US of A. Asian Americans are people with some kind of personal connection to Asian countries living here in the United States of America. djchuang2012sq Asian Americans collectively span a widely diverse range: Chinese, Filipino, Asian Indian, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese, Hawaiian, Pacific Islanders, Pakistani, Cambodian, Hmong, Thai, Laotian, Taiwanese, Bangladeshi, Burmese, Indonesian, Malay, Sri Lankan, and there are dozens more. Every one of these ethnicities significant and valuable for unique contributions in the world and potentially so much more right here in America. Marginalized by stereotyping, overgeneralization, and systemic problems, to name a few of the glaring issues, there’s much to be done to mobilize and fully engage Asian Americans into the very fabric of everyday mainstream American life.

I dream of a world where Asian Americans realize how much more we have in common and coming together to celebrate the differences also. I dream of a world where all 100% of Asian Americans have their life stories honored and heard, rather than only the top 1% getting all the honor and prestige; a world where a person’s worth is not based on their accomplishments or accolades. I dream of a world where generations can honor their shared collective heritage, while also unleashing the next generations to create new worlds in a fast-changing global village. I dream of a world where the Asian American stories encompasses both the immigrant journey and the fully-American next-generation narratives. I dream of a world of wholeness and health for Asian Americans. I dream of a world where every single Asian American realizes their intrinsic worth and value, to be respected with dignity for being human.

To step into this dream, I’m turning the page into a new chapter in my work life. As a person of faith, this for me will be a season of public Christian ministry. I’ve signed on with Ambassador Network as a strategy consultant to launch a movement of multiplying, multiethnic, and missional churches. I’ll be describing that in the coming weeks and months, and would love to have you come along with me.

Jan 162013

Today I’m talking about the strategic use of social media with pastors, leaders, and seminarians at a luncheon introducing the new Asian-American D.Min. program at Talbot Seminary. I’m honored to be included as part of the cohort’s team along with Dr. Ben Shin, Rev. Cory Ishida (Evergreen Baptist Church of San Gabriel Valley), Dr. Sheryl Silzer (Wycliffe Bible Translators), Rev. Michael Lee (Young Nak Celebration Church). Residency starts in June 2013 – check out the details.

In 15 minutes, I can only cover so much, and here’s the slides to keep it tight and to the point. View/download slides. And I’ll add links to other things that surface from our interaction.

Jan 102013

The current event of the day does not bode well for America on the whole, with regards to unity for a diverse people holding different convictions, and for the Evangelical church, on many fronts.

Within 48 hours of the official invitation, Pastor Louie Giglio announced that he’s “respectfully withdraw my acceptance of the President’s invitation” to offer the benediction prayer at President Obama’s Inauguration Day. News articles mentioned this as: Pastor withdraws from Obama inauguration after sermon on homosexuality surfaces (Fox)Giglio bows out of inauguration over sermon on gays (CNN)Pastor Backs Out of Obama Inauguration Over Previous Anti-Gay Comments (ABC). Right here in the United States of America, things feel a lot more like the Divided States of America. That’s sad.

And this is just one of many signs that things are not boding well for the churches in America with an Evangelical persuasion. A new book by John S. Dickerson, The Great Evangelical Recession: 6 Factors That Will Crash the American Church… and How to Prepare, synthesized data from a  number of studies (including Gallup’s Organization, Barna Group, studies by David T. Olson, Dr. Christian Smith, journalist Christine Wicker) to conclude American Evangelicalism is more accurately between 7% to 8.9% of the American population, about one-fourth the size often claimed. In addition to inflated numbers, the author goes on to report alarming factors describing the state of the American Evangelical church:

  • bankrupt: donation levels are declining
  • hated: outsiders becoming increasingly antagonistic
  • dividing: over political and theological issues
  • bleeding: young adults leaving in unprecedented numbers
  • sputtering: failing to make disciples

Dickerson himself was a former journalist, so he’d know how to do research and fact-check, so I’ll grant that his interpretation of the overall trends may be correct. Dickerson is now a pastor of a fast-growing church in Arizona, and he takes the space of the 2nd half the book to provide an overview of possible solutions. He’s honest enough to say that he doesn’t have it all figured out. The solutions he proposes are not proven. And I’m not sure his call for Evangelical churches re-forming its base and coming together is a good solution.

Download 2 free sample chapter free and read it for yourself & let me know your reaction.

Will this book finally open up the vigorous conversation that church leaders must have to address the reality of the crisis? While most of the numbers won’t tip the scale, the Evangelical church’s economic outlook may be the one thing that will get attention. Money has a way of getting attention more than anything else. In other words, the financial model is not sustainable.

The Evangelical church needs help, lots of help, more conversations and working solutions. Change is overdue. Time to innovate. Buckle up!

[disclosure: I received a review copy of this book]

Jan 022013

I count it a great privilege to be invited to serve as an Urbana 12 steward (their fancy word for volunteer) and it was so much fun! Urbana is a large-scale missions conference that just finished out on this last week of 2012, concluding with communion to ring in the New Year 2013 together. What a memorable time, and it changed many lives of participants attending #u12 (the Urbana 12 event hashtag prominently printed everywhere and actively used throughout); and I want to add, Urbana 12 changed my life as a volunteer too. (btw, there were over 800 volunteers plus countless staff to make Urbana 12 so happening)

Watch the Urbana 2012 Summary video

The best way to grow is to change how you see the world. Life experience shapes perception, perception shapes truth, and for most of us people, perception is truth.

That’s what the Urbana conference does so well every 3 years: bringing a wide swatch of the world to receptive college students so they can find God’s will for their place in the world.

12 ways that Urbana 12 change my life by opening my eyes to see the world differently::

  1. Activating a social media squad: Adam Jeske skillfully empowered a team of 14 of us to serve as the an online pastoral team to engage participants in real-time using Twitter, along with Facebook, Instagram, and blogging. Read articles in Christian Post and Mission Network News. I’ll be talking more about this on an upcoming episode of Social Media Church podcast [update: read Adam Jeske's insider look = Tweeting for Jesus with 16,000 Friends: Urbana Social Media]
  2. Urbana 12 Live Blog: my primary role was to blog highlights in real-time during thr main sessions to complement the livestream videos. My best discovery was using Storify to curate tweets and photos, see: Changed Lives, Responding to God’s Invitation, Power of Prayer
  3. doing something together with dear wife: Rachelle and I enjoyed our 3rd Urbana together; shared experiences can bring people closer in wonderful ways; and she joined Twitter @rachellewchuang too
  4. sharing my life: I spoke at the Pan Asian North American Lounge, thankful to James Choung for the special opportunity– listen to and/or read my talk — Step up, Speak Up, Live It Up; you don’t have to be a superstar to make a difference
  5. launch lab: got a spontaneous on-the-spot invitation from Josh Kwan to give one-on-one coaching feedback to young people with business/ministry ideas to help them towards implementation.. I’m no Charles Lee, but it sure was encouraging to realize that I have more than I knew I had to offer others in this intimidating context
  6. integrating a seamless theme: loved how the Urbana 12 organizers weaved the theme of God’s Invitation through-and-through.. powerful draw that pulled us forward into God’s work in the world
  7. shifting demographics in the USA: the American population will have no racial/ethnic majority by 2050, maybe sooner; and we experienced that in the Urbana 12 immersion, both in the attendance and on stage
  8. reality check on multiethnic worship: it’s so profoundly transforming because you are literally experiencing worship like the way it will be in eternity. But the sad reality in America is that less than 10% of Urbana participants will get to have this experience back at their home churches.
  9. it’s a family reunion: got to connect with many old friends and some new ones too, too many to name here.. if I talked with you, you know who you are
  10. it’s a small world: even amidst 16,000 people you wind up meeting people that know people you know, aka 2nd degree of separation; biggest surpise: someone that knew me via Toronto church planter Danny Yang
  11. God’s opening doors: recently being thrown into a job transition, I was not sure how God could use my unconventional personality to provide for muself and family.. while I have a good number of skills that could work in a variety of jobs just to make money, how much better it is to be given an opportunity to use my “mad scientist” profile in a “skunk works” context.. praying this will be a go
  12. faith in action: on the evening of Day 3 Urbana 12 Join-In event, we assembled 32,000 caregiving kits together, in response to need in Swaziland.. we truly experienced first-hand how we really are part of something much bigger than ourselves

Were you at Urbana 12? I’d love to hear your stories too!

[by the numbers: attendance 16,000 (unofficial); ethnic demographics: 56% Caucasian, 30% East Asian, 7.7% African Am, 6.3% Hispanic/Latino, 6.1% Southeast Asian, 2.9% South Asian; over 6,000 Asians; cf. production notes]