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


Jul 172010

The ethnic diversity among American church leaders sometimes gets obscured by only looking at numbers and rankings. America is now more than one-third (non-white) minorities. There’s not yet a similar ratio on those “top” lists. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

This is a list of blogs by non-white ethnic leaders in the American church (cf. ChurchRelevance’s Top 100 Church Blogs):

Apologies for any oversight–this list is not comprehensive. I searched for active blog (at least 1 new post in the past month) or a domain name or using fuzzy logic. And someone oughta put a top blog list for women church leaders, right Sherry?

By the way, the Multi-Ethnic Church Conference 2010 will be a national gathering of historic significance. This November 2-3 in San Diego. I do urge all church leaders to be present and counted as our country diversifies as does the blogosphere.

Please add more via the comments below. Thanks for collaborating.

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?

Jan 202007

TomorrowTonight is Sunday January 21st. At 9:00pm Eastern, 6:00pm Pacific, and whatever that translates to your locale, I’ll be on the Next Gener.Asian Church Skypecast, where we will explore the question: “Is the Asian American church – necessary, optional, or simply an unhealthy diversion?” At this moment, I’ll be presenting about it as being “optional”, and a good one at that, b/c we need all kinds of churches for all kinds of people. [live update: bummer, the skypecast server isn't working well, so we're reverting to a Skype conference call - invite only, sorry!]

The skypecast is free, all you need is Skype and a good broadband Internet connection. We’ll try to record it for posterity.

[update] We got it recorded, listen below (mp3 audio):

Side note: our family is again subscribing to a DVD-by-mail service, this time with Blockbuster. We’re one of the 700,000 newbies. Their Total Access program really is the best of both worlds, and makes sense for their retail stores: you get up to 3 DVDs by mail, and you can also exchange those at the store for free in-store videos, when that movie impulse itches. This NYT article describes the market’s response, Blockbuster Marries Stores to Internet:

Q. You recently started a program that competes directly with Netflix called Total Access, which gives customers the option of returning DVDs through the mail or exchanging them at a store. How is that going?

A. We launched Total Access on Nov. 1, and in the last two months of last year we added 700,000 subscribers.

Q. You are giving customers a two-week free trial. Do you know how many are staying on and paying for the service?

A. We believe it�s somewhere between 70 and 75 percent. And that�s a much higher conversion rate than any of our previous programs.