Asian American Pastor Louis Lee
One of the pastors that pioneered Christian church ministries for English-speaking Asian Americans is Rev. Louis Lee, most prominently in the 1990s and 2000s.
I got to reconnect with Louis over an informal lunch fellowship, his very words, during this Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. I reflected upon how his life and ministry has made a difference organically through relationships and curated these artifacts to share with pastors today. (it’s a much better thing to celebrate someone’s life while they’re here with us instead of when they’re not.) In a time where so many people are looking for the next innovation, we need to remember those who paved the way and on whose shoulders we stand upon.
4 Developments in Asian American Christianity
Louis Lee has noticed these trends in his 30+ years of networking and ministering with Asian Americans:
- Overseas Born Chinese (OBC) / American Born Chinese (ABC) tensions: now an ABC can become the Senior Pastor
- Parents are more supportive of a wider range of career choices, though not necessarily to ministry.
- Increased bridge building between church and parachurch.
- Justice and racism are now on people’s screens.
Birth of a Ministry
This excerpt from an extensive interview with Louis Lee explained his heart to encourage and connect:
Sensing a need first among American Born Chinese (ABCs) and later other “English Speaking Asians” for connection and encouragement… Louis hosted countless lunches and regional conferences for men, women, married couples and families… MESA encouraged partnerships, and friendships were formed, new gatherings and organizations were inspired…
To worship leader Peter Lum, Louis is a unique leader with a “tremendous ability to connect with people one-on-one, heart-to-heart.” With no agenda other than to encourage and connect, he was able to lead leaders to meet and work alongside one another in hosting these gatherings and conferences, modeling and priming many for partnerships that continue to form to this day.archive of AsianAmericanChristian.org, retrieved from Internet Archive Wayback Machine
about Ministries for English Speaking Asians (MESA)
MESA (Ministries for English Speaking Asians) is a non-profit parachurch ministry started by Rev. Louis Lee in 1988. The mission of MESA is to promote greater harmony within the evangelical Asian American (EAA) community by focusing on two primary ministries: conferences and regional fellowship meetings for EAA leaders. Board of Director members include Rev. Dr. Brian Owyoung, Mr. Peter Lum, and Mr. Ron Sugimoto.via https://isaacbb.wordpress.com/2007/01/09/aaba-update-from-louis-lee-mesa/
Education & Ministry
Louis served as a pastor for 20 years after graduating from the University of Michigan (1975) and Dallas Theological Seminary (1979). He served full time with Promise Keepers from 7/96 to 10/98 as their National Asian Coordinator.
Since 10/98, Louis has worked full time under MESA organizing 18 different conferences designed for English speaking Asians in 6 different locations around the nation as well as serving as a part time interim pastor for various Asian churches in the Bay Area.via https://isaacbb.wordpress.com/2007/01/09/aaba-update-from-louis-lee-mesa/
Pastor Lee’s parents immigrated from China in the late 40’s and lived near Detroit, Michigan, where Pastor Lee grew up.
Pastor Louis has been married to Eileen since 1976. They have two adult sons and two granddaughters. Pastor Louis and Eileen moved from the Bay Area to Elk Grove in 2005. Louis enjoys most sports as well as bargain hunting, hiking, and traveling. He may be contacted at [email protected]via Chinese Community Church (Sacramento,CA) http://cccsac.net/AboutUs/OurPastor/tabid/66/Default.aspx
Read more about Louis’ family background, early church experiences, how he supported pastors through fellowship and conferences, in this cached AsianAmericanChristian.org interview at Internet Archive Wayback Machine.
In 2016, Louis was honored by ISAAC for his pioneering contributions.