Jul 142013
 

Very privileged to get a tremendous opportunity last month to speak during a Sunday worship service at an ethnic Chinese church in Austin, Texas. The message was very well received, I think. The sermon was translated live side-by-side, phrase-by-phrase, from English to Mandarin Chinese, and that was followed by like 20 minutes of interactive Q&A, plus I was counseling afterward for another hour. For those of you that have your pulse on viral videos (5M+ views), the translator was Jia Jiang of the 100 Days of Rejection Therapy notoriety. Listen/download the audio:

preached

Very grateful for the opportunity and the receptiveness. What I experienced was just how much emotion is under the surface for my kin among the Chinese/Asian people, but it’s too often unexpressed and suppressed, so when there is an inviting and safe opportunity to begin exploring those feelings, it can be a rather surprising and even disorienting experience. That’s how I interpreted how the emcee (aka moderator) described it as he shared some closing words to wrap up the worship service. And also personally very touched by the kind words of introduction from my friend Paul Wang Jr. who serves as English Pastor there.

And, thus begins my journey of being a vocal advocate for mental health being more accessible to Asians and Asian Americans. Your feedback is welcomed, after you listen to the sermon.

經文:《林後》1:3-7

cf. my Gospel Herald article Can the Church Help with Mental Illness?

Apr 022012
 

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]:

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) –

  1. China as an Innovation Nation - provided a portrait of China’s innovation drive, describing its scale and success model
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. In search of the Chinese entrepreneur - ” with profiles of Aigo’s Feng Jun and Sundia’s Xiochuan Wang
  5. Innovation war or innovation peace?” – potential for both conflict and cooperation in the U.S.-China innovation relationship
  6. Engage China with guarded openness - be open to sharing information and to collaboration, but exercise prudence and caution

 

Jun 192011
 

One aspect of family life mostly left unspoken is our mortality, especially an Asian one. Yes it could be rather morbid. It may even be superstitious to talk about it, as it was for my traditional Chinese Dad who headed up my family of origin.

This Father’s Day is our first without him. I would not say we’ve emerged from our grief already. I would say that our lives are forever changed; I would say we are doing rather well in this new normal.

The past 2.5 years have been a particularly heavy time of caregiving for Dad, as he slowly and steadily declined in health following a stroke and diagnosed with PSP, a neurological disorder without a name like Alzheimer and Parkinson. My mother and my brother Deef took care of him diligently and sacrifically. I debriefed that experience with my brother Deef, and recorded the webcast before a live audience– you can watch that video .

Our hope is that by talking about a topic that’s rarely ever talked about in the Chinese/ Asian American context as normal average people (in contrast to healthcare professional) that our story can be useful towards realizing you have 2 guys who are empathetic and accessible when that season of life comes around.

Jun 102010
 

How the multi-generational multi-lingual ethnic Asian Amerian church should and could minister in a healthy way is a recurring conversation, and occasionally new people enter this context afresh, perhaps from a job relocation, a next step after commencement, a natural progression of time and aging, or (less frequently) a personal conversion or crisis of faith. These questions came into my inbox recently, so let’s revisit that context again:

  • Do you think there is still a vital place for a multi-generational/cultural Chinese American church? Or do you see more inclusive Asian American churches and multi-ethnic churches as the next logical phase? Do you see Chinese American churches as “just” an intermediate step between an American church and a multi-ethnic model or perhaps an end in itself?
  • How would you describe the “ideal”, inter-generational immigrant Chinese church today? What does it look like to you? Multiple services in different languages? (e.g. Mandarin, Cantonese and English) Or same services with simultaneous translation in headsets? Side-by-side translation?
  • What are some creative ideas to unite the different Chinese generations and cultures besides joint services?
  • What in your knowledge are great examples and models of inclusive, multi-generation Chinese American churches?

Links mentioned in my video response:

In summary, it’ll take all kinds of churches to reach all kinds of people, so there is a place for the ethnic Chinese church. The way a church does its worship services and programs will change over time, and an openness to allow creativity to flourish as a natural outflow of spirituality will discover the “right” answers for each church context. That means putting resources behind research & development, i.e. prayer, people, and money. What would you add?

Oct 242009
 

// [ update: my presentation and related links are over at the L2 Foundation blog - click here ] //

ConferenceOn November 30th and December 1st, I’ll be at the NA-CCOWE (North American Chinese Congress on World Evangelization) conference English Track: “The Challenges and Future of English Ministries. This is the first time that the conference will host a parallel track, along side of the Mandarin Chinese language track. (Note that the event itself runs from 11/3 to 12/4.)

I’ll be making a presentation in a workshop about next generation Asian American churches. Knowing the audience is primarily English ministry leaders within an ethnic Chinese church, I hope to explore what can be practically applied from what is working among next generation multi-Asian/multi-ethnic churches, adapted from my presentation shared on several other occasions.
Continue reading »

May 302009
 

This set of question was posted in a recent email discussion, as Southern Cal ministry leaders are anticipating the upcoming lunch fellowship this Wednesday 6/3:

As an observer and advocate of ABC ministries since the 1970s and a former youth worker in a Chinese church, can anyone educate me as to WHY there are few(er) ABC’s committing themselves for full time Christian service these days? (a) Postmodern culture? (b) Options of going into Asian American/mainstream churches and ministries? (c) Others…? We have always had a shortage. Is the shortage growing?

abcpastor
Continue reading »

May 272009
 

// [update 6/3/09 4:30pm] Notes + video posted at the L2 Foundation blog //

Fellowship of American Chinese Evangelicals (FACE) has invited me as a special guest for an ABC/English Pastors’ Fellowship Meeting, next Wednesday, June 3rd, starting at 10:00am.
Continue reading »