about Next Generation Chinese Canadian Christians

Living in fast-changing times of the 21st century has enough challenges in our society and culture. Trying to navigate two very different cultures is that much harder.

The dynamics of bi-cultural of people from an ethnic Asian heritage and living in an American cultural context brings many challenges and opportunities. Add on top of that the demands of Christian life to live counter-culturally and following Jesus.

For the typical ethnic Asian church in Canada or United States, whether it’s one of the 4000+ Korean churches or thousands of Chinese churches, it’s been very challenging trying to figure out how to address the needs of native-born Asian Christians and to prevent further exodus of the younger generation.

This report, Listen to their Voices: An Exploration of Faith Journeys of Canadian-Born Chinese Christians, provides useful research based on analysis and interviews with next-generation Canadian-Born Chinese Christians that’s informative for Asian North American church leaders of all generations. Download the full version or the abridged version of the eBook in PDF format in English and Chinese at cccowe.ca/lttv-ebook.

Listen to their Voices: An Exploration of Faith Journeys of Canadian-Born Chinese Christians.

Purpose of Research

Excerpted from the Introduction of Listen to their Voices

Listening to Their Voices (LTTV) is the research report of the study “To Whom Shall We Go?” conducted across six cities in Canada (i.e., Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, and Vancouver) that represent approximately 87% of the Chinese population and the Chinese immigrant churches in Canada (Statistics Canada, 2014).

… the purpose of probing the lived experience of the Canadian Born Chinese Christians (CBCC) in the context of the Chinese Canadian Immigrant Churches (CCIC).

The objective of this study is to explore the faith journeys of two cohorts of CBCC: (1) the Stay-On (i.e., those who are attending CCIC at the time of interview) and the Drop-Out (i.e., those who had already disengaged their affiliation with CCIC) by examining what have shaped them to be the religious type of who they are through investigating the factors that motivate them to either disengage from CCIC and/or faith altogether, or continue a steadfast devotion to the religious community and a firm adhesiveness to their faith.

Who Made this Research Possible

“Listen to their Voices” is a project spearheaded by Chinese Coordination Centre of World Evangelism – Canada (CCCOWE-Canada) and joint-funded by CCCOWE-Canada, The Christian and Missionary Alliance in Canada, the Canadian Association of China Graduate School of Theology, the Association of Chinese Evangelical Ministries, the Association of North American Chinese Evangelical Free Churches, and the Chinese Mennonite Brethren.

8 Ways Churches Can Reach the Next Generation

The Listen to their Voices report recommended these directional shifts for a stronger future of multigenerational faith communities—

  1. From “Jiaozi” (dumpling) to Jesus
    Strengthening the gospel-centric preaching and teachings that holistically engage faith, vocation, identity, community, culture, and values.
  2. From belonging to being discipled
    Developing and implementing a set of radical yet Biblical-based discipling principles and practices that accept risk-taking and shape a life-long devotion.
  3. From textbook instruction to journeying
    Creating a set of mentoring practices that are not necessarily formal but organic, championing a space for reverse mentoring and mutual support.
  4. From protecting to preparing
    Putting in place a concrete transition plan for high-schoolers to move into university, and for college students from university to career
  5. From “a museum of the saints” to “a hospital for the wounded”
    Fostering an environment that is safe and respectful, allowing doubt, questions, and failures to be expressed without condemnation.
  6. From rigidity to fluidity
    Reimaging and redeploying rituals and symbols in a way that is both Biblically centric and culturally adaptive (e.g., worship, ambiance, ministry orientation & practices).
  7. From hierarchy to lower power distance
    Rethinking and resetting leadership practices such that: (a) power distance is narrowed; (b) a structure and culture is espoused that is local-born friendly, with open communication, distributed decision-making responsibility, and trust; (c) leadership apprentice is encouraged.
  8. From being “stuck in the middle” to “reigniting the vision”
    Reigniting the CCIC’s vision to (1) incorporate the input of the local born and; (2) to increase the share of ownership of the local-born through practices of inter-generational ministry for the sake of God’s kingdom and a holistic world mission.