Apr 222014
 

Pastor Ray Chang and I will be in Orlando next week at the Exponential East 2014 conference, the mother of all church planting conferences, and on Wednesday April 30th, we want to invite you to a free lunch (sponsored by Ambassador Network and EFCA – Evangelical Free Church of America) to experience the public launch of ReGenerant Network and to hear the vision of Ambassador Network‘s ReGenerant initiative.

ReGenerant Network is not just for any church planter, this is focused on multi-Asian/multi-ethnic church planting by Asian American pastors and/or those intentionally reaching the fastest-growing demographic of Asian Americans. (cf. Value of an Asian American church planting network) Our goal is to start 12 churches in Greater Los Angeles this next year and we would love for you to be a part of the journey. And have a great time at lunch too. Space is limited. Please RSVP and let us know you’re coming!

Share this link regenerant1.splashthat.com to invite others you know that are coming to Exponential East 2014.

Seek-and-Save-Webcast

And, for those who can’t be at the conference in-person, watch the livestream of Exponential East 2014′s Free Webcast 4/29-5/1. Exponential 2014 will take a fresh look at evangelism — proclaiming the Good News — and rethink and challenge some of our old paradigms and rediscover some of Jesus’ old truths anew. Within the context of discipleship, Exponential will rethink five key areas of evangelism: ReThinking Evangelism | ReThinking Outreach | ReThinking Witness | ReThinking Preaching | ReThinking Commission.

Apr 132014
 

We the Chuang family have a tradition of multi-churching during the 2 biggest Christian holidays of the year, Easter and Christmas. Here’s a schedule of church worship services around Orange County, California, that I charted out with 18 churches that had multiple service times for Easter weekend::

This is our proposed agenda for the Chuang Family 2014 OC Easter Tour (with 8 stops):

  • 4/17 Thurs 7pm @ An Easter Together
  • 4/18 Fri 12pm @ St. Andrew’s Episcopal Irvine + 2pm @ ROCKHARBOR Costa Mesa + 6pm @ Ev Free Fullerton
  • 4/19 Sat 4pm @ Saddleback Lake Forest + 6pm @ Mariners Irvine
  • 4/20 Sun 7am @ Saddleback Rancho Capistrano + 11am @ Saddleback Church UCI Venue

Please join us on this special tour if you’re in the area, we’d love to meet you! (I’ll provide color commentary, for free, upon request.) Or build your own schedule using the spreadsheet.

An overview map of the 2014 OC Easter Tour
2014_OC_Easter_Tour
Aside: wondering what percentage of Southern Baptist Churches have Good Friday services. Can anyone help me find the answer?

Apr 042014
 

At a Leadership Network collaborative event tech-gridfor churches strategizing about “What’s Next”, I made a presentation titled “The Present Future of Digital Technologies.”

I did the 15-minute talk twice. Listen to either 1 of 2 audios and follow along with the slide deck for a useful framework to thinking strategically about how to use current & emerging technologies for current & future opportunities.

Version 1

Version 2

Honored to be presenting with Nils Smith (OnlineChurch.com) during these sessions. I don’t think he had slides; I do have an upcoming episode with Nils on the Social Media Church podcast [will add link here.] Posting this presentation in reply to this tweet.

@andrewcyee

Mar 292014
 

Yes there is hope and help for people that struggle with mental illness, but it is not easy to get help when there is so much social stigma about someone needing psychiatric help. Plus, even if stigma weren’t in the way, there isn’t enough professionals and resources to meet the overwhelming need–approximately 61.5 million (1 in 4 US adults) experience mental illness in a given year and only a third receive help!

The Gathering on Mental Health and the Church yesterday was a powerful time of exhortation for how churches around the world must take more of its part to better help people that struggle with mental illness. Here’s why: the church is statistically and anecdotally the first place people go for help with mental illness. 3,200 were in attendance at the sold-out event and many thousands more watching online via the free webcast. Tommy Hilliker announced that the plenary videos and all workshop audios will be posted online for free – what a great & generous resource! 

/ [update] Watch/listen to the recordings from The Gathering on Mental Health and the Church /

hope4mh-13487340514_87432e3aca_z
[photo credit: Explorations Media, L.L.C.]

2 Christian ministries equipping people to run peer-based support groups were featured:

fresh_hopeGrace-Alliance

Fresh Hope -  a peer-to-peer Christ-centered wellness approach to mental health recovery that empowers people to connect both their faith and recovery principles

The Grace Alliance - provides personal assistance to navigate professional care and improve personal life management through its Mental Illness Recovery Program (THRIVE) and support groups. Also helps the church understand the biblical and clinical perspective of mental health difficulties and disorders.

I missed hearing about church-based support groups. When I searched for them on the Internet during the past hour, I found no popular church programs to care for people struggling with mental illness, though there are a handful of local examples here and there.

Maybe a few churches will be prompted to develop church-based programs after yesterday’s event and make their curriculum available to churches everywhere. If history is an indicator, maybe Saddleback Church will be one of those curriculum-makers, like its past roll-outs: Purpose-Driven Church, Purpose-Driven Life, Celebrate Recovery, and Daniel Plan.

Millions are suffering and struggling with mental disorders (cf. NIMH): Mood Disorders, Major Depressive Disorder, Dysthymic Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, Anxiety Disorders, Panic Disorder. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Social Phobia, Agoraphobia, Specific Phobia, Eating Disorders, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism, Personality Disorders, Antisocial Personality Disorder, Avoidant Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder. And I think we/they can use all the help they can possibly get. Will the church arise?

[update] One OC Christian support group, Families and Friends of those with Mental Illness, meets on alternating Monday nights 7:00pm-8:30pm at Saddleback Church (1 Saddleback Pkwy, Lake Forest, CA 92630) in Room 310, nearby Tent 3. About this group::

To provide an informative, supportive and safe experience for families and friends with loved ones suffering from severe or chonic mental illness. This support group provides an environment where you can share your burdens, glean from others experience and find strength being with people who also have a loved one battling mental illness. You don’t have to go through it alone. Come and be with people who can relate to what you are going through.

Mar 272014
 

Watch the free webcast for The Gathering on Mental Health and the Church held on 3/28/14, noted as the nation’s first religiously backed conference to address mental health issues

hope4mh-watch

/ [update] Watch/listen to the recordings from The Gathering on Mental Health and the Church All of the plenary session videos and workshop audios are online for free. /

Traditional media mentions, most recently:

I’m most eager to hear of the next steps and sustained efforts at keeping the conversations alive and ongoing, raising awareness, shaping and changing perceptions, breaking stigma over time. It won’t happen overnight. I do pray that a bunch of good things will birth from this event. And I hope the event organizers will record the webcast videos and make those available as a very valuable resource.

Aside: I haven’t yet found discussions online leading up to the event, though I did find a few blog posts. (My attempt to contact organizers about follow-up next steps got a reply of: “… decisions have not been made yet.”)

Mar 152014
 

March 28th, 2014 is the day when the world could have more safe communities for people with mental illness. The Gathering on Mental Health and the Church is convening on 3/28 from 8:30am to 9:00pm (Pacific Time, UTC-7) Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, and word is that there will be a FREE livestream webcast. See website mentalhealthandthechurch.com for more event info and if you’re local to Southern California, please come – and don’t let money be a barrier. Event hashtag = #hope4mh

mentalhealthychurch

Here’s your personal invitation from the organizers:

Studies show that one out of every four adults in America will be affected by mental illness at some point in their lives. The first place many go for help is to their priest or to their pastor because the heart of Jesus and the Church has always been for those who suffer.

You are invited to The Gathering on Mental Health and the Church, a one-day event designed to encourage individuals living with mental illness, educate family members, and equip church leaders to provide effective and compassionate care to any faced with the challenges of mental illness.

Join Pastor Rick and Kay Warren of Saddleback Church, Bishop Kevin Vann of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, and NAMI-OC (National Alliance on Mental Illness-Orange County), and other faith and community leaders on Friday, March 28 for a hope-filled and inspiring event, as together we call the Church to action on behalf of those living with mental illness, equip lay and pastoral leadership, and stand side-by-side with those who suffer.

The headline on this Christian Post article, Rick and Kay Warren to Host ‘Mental Health and the Church’ Summit; Organizers Hope to Wipe Out Stigma of Mental Illness, is quite an overstatement, in my humble opinion. One event will not wipe out the stigma, as the headline suggests (or it could be read that way, I did). It will take a long sustained effort to change things, with the social stigma pervasive in societies and families, faith communities and churches alike.

I’m personally very grateful for this one influential church taking a first step to start addressing this. I’m eager to see what the second step will be, and the many steps ahead that many others will begin to take. It all starts with the first step, and I sincerely hope it’s the first of many, not only for Saddleback, but many many others.

kaywarren313postAnd, one more thing. I’ll be there in person myself. Please say hello if you can come too, I would be happy to connect. (personal disclosure: Saddleback Church is my home church)

cf. also read Kay Warren’s poignant blog post (Facebook calls it a “story”): ‘… shocked by some subtle and not-so-subtle comments indicating that perhaps I should be ready to “move on.”‘