Where are the Good Preachers in the Chinese American Church?
I’m feeling sad about the state of the Chinese American Church. I posted this on my Facebook timeline with visibility to my friends, where people have a perception that it’s comfortable to add a comment there. (I tend to see more comments on my Facebook posts than my djchuang.com blog posts)
Chinese Americans have the largest population in Asian America, and only one English-speaking pastor/preacher (Ken Fong) with large-conference speaking experience. 🙁 I am not counting Francis Chan nor Bruce Fong, as their ministries focus (almost) exclusively to the broader evangelical church, and not connected to the Chinese/Asian American contexts. And, there are large Chinese Christian conferences & churches around, so it’s not for lack of opportunities per se.
What I think we collectively do have a responsibility for, as Chinese Americans, is to be intentionally passing on our faith to the next generations of Chinese Americans too (along with our global call to all peoples, both/and) in a way that is contextualized, as any good missionary would do; and by corollary, the good missionary conferences too. So much potential; so many opportunities.
These are statistics about Asian Americans and their religious affiliation, according to a Pew Research report Asian Americans: A Mosaic of Faiths (July 2012):
Crunching the numbers, here’s what those percentages show in terms of head count:
- Chinese American Christians 1,243,135
- Korean American Christians 1,211,844
The number of Chinese Christians and Korean Christians in the USA is roughly the same. And to drill-down further to Protestants, the numbers say:
- Chinese American Protestants 882,225
- Korean American Protestants 1,041,161
I chose to compare and contrast the Korean Americans with Chinese Americans because their corresponding number of Christians are similar, albeit differences in the number of churches and pastors. As for Protestant churches, there are ~1,600 ethnic Chinese churches and 4,000+ ethnic Korean churches. And, there are many more than one English-speaking Korean American pastors/preachers with large-conference speaking experiences.
* Also see my 2009 post, Paucity of Chinese American Ministry Leaders