Nov 152013

Many people find lists and selecting the best of the best because there’s too much information out there (and I say that to opt-out from that category for myself.) So, in response to a tweet, here’s a list of Asian American pastors that regularly preach and teach at their churches and particularly contextualize the Gospel for all peoples, those who are bicultural, interracial, and multiethnic (in contrast to some who may speak from a generic Gospel perspective, not that there’s anything wrong with that; listed in alphabetical order):growing numbers of next-gen multi-asian churches

This is a subjective list compiled in response to this tweet “[@brentonbalvin] who are some top Dricsoll, Chandler, Piper, -esque Asian preachers I should be podcasting?” and I welcome your comments and additions to the list too. (ed.note: I took his inquiry as one for Asian American preaching rather than Reformed preaching by Asian Americans)

There are many more good Asian American pastors serving their churches—see my list of next-generation multi-Asian churches; the list above are those that come to mind when I think of active sermon podcasts. This means to be listed, there needs to be podcast feeds that can be subscribed in iTunes and Android, as well as contextualizing Gospel to cultures. Also see my blog post: What about Asian American Preaching

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Aug 312011

I’ve heard it said that you learn to teach by teaching. You learn to preach by preaching. “Practice makes perfect.” I’d say that practice does help. And some other resources can help too, like a personal coach and looking at a broader range of samples than just a few favorites. As someone who does public speaking once in a while, I’m realizing the process is discovering your strength in speaking with your own voice and style.

Dave Stone’s Refining Your Style: Learning from Respected Communicators [unfortunately, out of print; cf. preview excerpts in Google Books] is a phenomenal book that describes 13 different preaching/teaching styles: Creative Storyteller, Direct Spokesperson, Scholarly Analytic, Revolutionary Leader, Engaging Humorist, Convincing Apologist, Inspiring Orator, Practical Applicator, Persuasive Motivator, Passionate Teacher, Relevant Illustrator, Cultural Prophet, and Unorthodox Artist. And he deconstructs seasoned communicators like Zig Ziglar, Max Lucado, Chuck Colson, Max Lucado, Lee Strobel, Franklin Graham, Kirbyjon Caldwell, Erwin McManus, Rob Bell, Tim Keller, Gene Appel.

Another book that’s coming in January 2012 looks really promising = Excellence in Preaching: Studying the Craft of Leading Preachers by Simon Vibert [cf. table of contents] with color commentary on preaching by Tim Keller, John Piper, Nicky Gumbel, Alistair Begg, Mark Driscoll, Mark Dever, John Ortberg.

Just hearing and reading what they preach is one thing. To get an explanation of how they’re crafting their words and preparing their delivery — now that’s gold!

And, there’s Delivering the Sermon: Voice, Body, and Animation in Proclamation by Teresa L. Fry Brown (cf. Table of Contents, Introduction, Chapter 1) and Preaching to a Shifting Culture: 12 Perspectives on Communicating that Connects, edited by Scott M. Gibson, has a collection of essays about issues related to contextualizing, i.e. preaching from the Hebrew Scriptures, utilizing the “Speech Act” theory in preaching, the message of the Kingdom of God, sermons that connect to the atonement of Christ, importance of authorial intent, argumentation and structure, knowing your audience, psychology and mindset, globalization and authority.

On the occasion when your public speaking can be enhanced with visuals, the 2 bestselling books on presentations are — Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery (Garr Reynolds) and Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences (Nancy Duarte).

I loved watching the recent talk about WordPress by Matt Mullenweg: State of the Word, with a beautiful set of slides. The ideating behind the making of those slides of Michael Pick’s thought processes is also a fascinating read. See the slides for yourself.

May 212010

Professor Daniel Wong at Tyndale Seminary recently presented at a workshop on “The Art of Preaching in Asian American Settings” and I talked with him about his insights about the distinctives of Asian American preaching. Watch the video:

On his web page at, Professor Wong shares his workshop outline, recommended books, and links to a article by Matthew D. Kim titled “Asian American Preaching.” Click over and add a comment to continue the conversation.

[update] ISAAC has posted a report and downloads from the Art of Preaching in Asian American Settings workshop.

Aug 092009

Recently I’ve been asked, time and again, “I’m having a hard time finding a church.” I find the question surprising. Look at this map below of Irvine, California, where every red dot represents a church. (granted, not every Google search of the word church is a church, but most of them are churches.. and not every church has the word church in its name.. so let’s call it even.)

With so many red dots, churches are obviously much easier to find than a wifi hotspot! And a while back, I put together a shorter list of churches in Irvine, California, to help with people’s elusive search. Why am I still hearing the question? Now, I am sympathetic to the question, knowing how it can be hard to find a place of acceptance and understanding. Yet I wonder what is the really going on behind the question.

These questions come from Christians, even mature ones at that. On the one hand, there are many well-meaning books and articles exhorting the church searcher to not be church hopping and church shopping, to resist the cultural forces of consumerism. And, it’s true that you can worship God and connect with God anywhere. And Jesus did say something about the question not being to worship at this mountain or that mountain [being translated: at this church or that church], but worship in spirit and truth.

And when those theological truths and aspirational beliefs hit the ground, even mature Christians seem to find it hard to arbitrarily choose any church and make it their church home. Even when one sifts through a big list of churches to the ones that match a person’s theological convictions, and rightly so, there are still dozens to choose from. Preferences span the range of: teaching style, worship music, philosophy of ministry, church size, sizeable number of people of the same age, particular kinds of ministry, etc. And it’s not just preferences for a church that’d feed their soul [or, where they're best challenged to grow] or where they can connect with people like themselves. It’s also particulars of a church where they can best serve and offer their gifts, talents, and treasures.

Is being picky with churches too selfish? Sure it could be self-serving. Or it can be a part of the discernment process. And decision-making is not easy. The perennial favorite topic of “finding God’s will” stays at the top of the charts. In this case, finding the right church.

My thought for now: I think while we can worship God anywhere, or try to, the marvel is that God will meet us where we are. Preferences and all.

Jan 302008

Here in Chicago to drop in on the Evangelical Covenant denomination’s Midwinter Conference at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare. Came in last night instead of the afternoon b/c my flight was delayed for 3 hours due to inclement weather at O’Hare, and will be flying out tonight.

Walked outside to see snow flurries last night. So nice! Winter finally feels real. Nothing like bundling up and feeling a little chill. (okay, enough winter this season, tho’ making a snowball would be a bonus)

Didn’t plan this trip as well, just booked it last minute last week; otherwise, I woulda stayed the whole time, b/c there are so many next gen Asian American pastors here in this mix, including Eugene Cho, Ed Lee, Walton Yuen, Ted Law, Peter Ahn, Abe Han, Dave Chae, Greg Yee, John Lee, and more. Locals like Soong-Chan Rah and Peter Cha stopped by too. Haven’t seen Scot McKnight or Doug Pagitt. Very encouraging to see how this older denomination is making intentional changes to enter the 21st century with growing momentum.

My conferencing tip I’ll divulge: I skip out of plenaries and workshops to meetup with people, and buy CDs of the talks I want to hear. And, I’ll roam around workshops, drop into several for 5 minutes each, catch the gist, and either settle in on one that most resonates to me, or if I find someone, pull someone out and get a hallway conversation. Though, in this grand and beautiful hotel, there are so many nice sofas and sitting areas all over, it’s ideal for mingling. Love that!

And a book I’ve been highly recommending to my pastor friends, and good for anyone who does public speaking, is Dave Stone’s Refining Your Style: Learning from Respected Communicators — read D-Plum’s raving review too. Plenty of books and courses on the mechanics of speaking and plumbing of preaching, but few books like this that helps you to find and shape your own voice.