I believe in the value of gathering pastors and leaders gathering together for robust discussions, the iron sharpening iron kind of dialogue.
There is some value in sharing a meal for fellowship and encouragement. In many localities, cities or regions, I’ve participated in and have known of pastor’s fellowships that met monthly or quarterly.
I don’t have a list or calendar of where and when these groups meetup currently. Previous groups have connected in cities like Washington DC, New York City, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles; maybe Seattle, Dallas, Houston. This is very doable, really, just 2 or 3 can gather, Jesus in the midst, and invite a couple of others, and then meet regularly.
Conferences are Something Else
Then there are those Asian American pastors and ministry leaders’ public events designed for many, be it 50, 150, 500 or more. These take more effort in planning and funding resources to pull off, so they haven’t happened as frequently as they could or should, for Asian Americans as the fastest growing racial-ethnic group in America.
Aside: Intergenerational multilingual conferences have become annual family traditions in certain circles; that isn’t addressed here. (someone else would be more qualified to do that.) Also noteworthy is the significant Christian ministries on college campuses that contextualized for and with Asian Americans, like Asian American Christian Fellowship, InterVarsity and Cru’s Epic Movement.
Conferences for English-speaking Asian American pastors and church leaders have not yet hit an annual stride, mostly one-off events and occasionally irregular ones.
This question came up, in chatting with Raymond Chang, about what’s happened before, as we anticipate the upcoming Asian-American Pastors Pre-Conference attached to the Gospel Coalition West Coast conference this October 15-16, 2018, in the Los Angeles area.
Let’s recall those past conferences, as a point of reference, with assistance from asianamericanchristian.org—
- Southeast Asian Leadership Summit (SEALS) – 6 conferences between 2006-2017
- PCA MNA, Council on Asian American Reformed Leaders (CAARL), and Coalition of Korean Churches (PCA-CKC) have gathered Korean American English Ministry (EM) pastors for more than 12+ years; also PCA EM Forums
- Catalyst Leadership Center initially started as Katalyst for Korean American pastors, then broadened to other Asian Americans, with conferences from 1992-1997
- Asian American Leadership Conferences hosted by Ministry of English Speaking Asians (MESA) in 2004 & 2008, then by Asian American Leadership Center in 2013
- aside: SBC has recently formed this National Asian-American Second Generation Fellowhip
Asian American Pastors’ Potential for More
Allow me to share a few personal thoughts; this excerpt is taken from my book MultiAsian.Church: A Future for Asian Americans in a Multiethnic World, Chapter 11—
… What I have not yet seen is an annual national summit that convenes key leaders among Asian American Christians to kickstart the conversations around the shared agenda we can have as the Body of Christ.
… In my humble opinion, the absence of this kind of an annual national gathering hinders our development on the whole, we stayed isolated in our struggles, and too many of us keep “reinventing the wheel” trying to solve the same old problems.
Does this sound like a compelling vision to you? It’s worth a conversation, right? I’m praying for God to bring the right people together to seek first the Kingdom of God for our tribe. Pray with me in creating a greater future for Asian Americans in a multiethnic world.