Daniel Sangi Im at Beulah

Asian Pastors Leading Larger Multiethnic Churches

A small yet growing number of Asian North American pastors are leading larger multiethnic churches. By larger churches, most of these are considered megachurches, meaning they have a weekly attendance of over 2,000 adults and children. Megachurches come with their share of complexities; and for Asian American senior pastors, they bear an extra challenge, as noted by Dr. Korie Edwards—

They have to leave the familiar to explore a new way of doing church, but their endeavors are not valued by their home religious communities… Asian American pastors experience a sense of ambiguity that stems from a lack of clarity about what it means for them to lead multiracial congregations as Asian Americans… [they] are left to navigate a racialized society where they are perceived and treated as inferior to their white peers, which has profound personal and social implications for them.

Estranged Pioneers: The Case of African American and Asian American Multiracial Church Pastors

Here’s a list of Asian American lead pastors of megachurches in the US and Canada, listed in no particular order. If you know of others, please add to this list. (Also see Asian American Pastors on Staff at Megachurches and Directory of MultiAsian Churches)

Asian American Pastors of Multiracial Megachurches

Ryan Kwon (Resonate Church @ Fremont, CA)

Daniel Sangi Im (Beulah Alliance Church @ Edmonton, Alberta, Canada)

Paul Kyu-Jin Choi (Village Church @ Beaverton, OR)

Jay Kim (WestGate Church @ San Jose, CA)

Mitchel Lee (Grace Community Church @ Columbia, MD)

Gail Song Bantum (Quest Church @ Seattle, WA)

Dave Gibbons (Newsong Church @ Santa Ana, CA)

Mark Lee (VantagePoint Church @ Eastvale, CA)

Ken Shigematsu (Tenth Church, Vancouver, BC, Canada)

Tim Park (Evangelical Free Church @ Diamond Bar, CA)

Sung Kim (Grace Church @ Ann Arbor, MI)

Glenn Packiam (Rockharbor @ Costa Mesa, CA)

Mathew John (Lake Avenue Church @ Pasadena, CA)

Norman Nakanishi (Pearlside Church @ Pearl City, HI)

Dan Chun (First Presbyterian Church of Honolulu @ Honolulu, HI)

Wayne Cordeiro (New Hope Christian Fellowship @ Honolulu, HI)

Libin Abraham (Bent Tree Bible Fellowship @ Carrollton, TX)

A Future for Churches in a Multiethnic World

When I authored the book in 2016, MultiAsian.Church: A Future for Asian Americans in a Multiethnic World, I highlighted the growing number of church plants that were less than 10 years old being led by Asian American pastors and reach both Asian Americans and non-Asians too. The list above indicates a emerging racial diversity just beginning to affect the leadership of sizeable American churches.

Perhaps this is a sign of how the churches in North America are beginning to realize the global church is much more than a white normativity, which comprises the majority of publications, events, and content being produced by Christian media.

With the shifts in global Christianity moving south and east, namely increasing numbers of Christians in South America, Africa, and Asia, while overall statistics have indicated declining numbers in North America and Europe, for over 100 years, not just in the current generation, as some voices raise an alarm of the American churches’ decline.


2 responses to “Asian Pastors Leading Larger Multiethnic Churches”

  1. Dannyo Avatar

    Hi DJ, thanks for blogging about all these exciting data! Here’s a few other megachurches led by an AsAm pastors to add to your list:

    -Klayton Ko: First Assembly of God (Hawaii) Honolulu, HI

    -Ted Kim: Evanston Vineyard, Chicago, IL

    Ché Ahn: Harvest Rock Church, Pasadena CA

    1. @Danny, thanks for the 3 additions!

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