desperately seeking happy church plants
I’m looking for a few good ethnic Asian churches that have a great story to tell. (Okay, I’m asking for a pastor friend.) He’s looking for a 1st generation Asian church that has had the openness + vision + foresight to give birth to a church with a different vision and/or a new model for ministry.
For example, an ethnic (1st generation) Asian church has a growing Asian-language ministry and a growing (2nd gen) English ministry, and the church leaders in both the Asian-language ministry and the English ministry wisely recognizes that autonomy for both ministries would be healthy for ownership and outreach. So the Asian church does its part to launch out a new church plant that would reach its neighborhood community and/or all kinds of ethnicities and/or people with a different (postmodern) mindset. As this new church plant is launched, the Asian (mother) church would take pride in what happened, while the new (daughter) church feels supported by the mother church and yet has freedom to develop new ways of outreach and ministry. Both need to perceive this church multiplication process as having gone well.
Know of any churches in the USA that fits this description? We’d love to hear of these happy churches and church plants!
DJ . . . may want to look at New Hope NCD here in SF (http://www.newhopesf.org/). They were the EM for a Korean Language church here and were daughtered out onto their own. From the outside, seemed like a pretty empowering experience, though know there were some internal struggles, which should be expected. Are they Postmodern? Not sure . . . . but the pastor they called is. Ben Jung is the pastor and might be worth the contact. Let me know if you want me to make an eIntro.
Bruce, thanks for the lead, will check them out. The church plant does not have to be postmodern, we’re just looking for examples of church plants that come out of a traditional intergenerational Asian church that looks different from the original, be it community/neighborhood based, multi-Asian/ multi-ethnic, or postmodern.
One of my sources mentioned Emmanuel Church (Philadelphia, PA) and Korean Central Presbyterian Church (Vienna, VA) as 2 examples that fit the description above. I’ll have to look into it; perhaps someone reading this post knows more about these 2 churches and can confirm how well they exemplify happy church plants. (you can send me an email to djchuang[at]gmail.com if you don’t want to comment in public)
The only church I know of that’s successfully launched a 2nd gen church is FEC Glendale, http://www.fecglendale.org/. The lead pastor, Eddie Lo, prayed at my wedding reception. It was like a 20 minute prayer, hehe. But his son launched out in Pasadena (http://www.epicentrechurch.org). You probably already know of this church, but thought I’d throw it up here.
I’m glad that you posted this question, and I will be interested to see the response. My own church (a bi-lingual Chinese church) has had some discussion on and off about planting a different type of daughter church, which would probably be an Asian-American church. I think that they key is to be mission-minded, and to see the potential for planting a daughter church that targets a different group than the mother church. The key question then becomes whether or not the mother church is somehow in a unique/special position to plant a church reaching the new target group.
DJ, You probably already know about them, but I know Austin Chinese Church (TX) has a vision to plant 2 new english-speaking churches; in addition to the postmodernesque Vox Venaie (formerly Liquid), they are planting another english-speaking congregation, and also keeping the English-speaking congregation (so they have three English pastors at three different locations).
btw, I think the model that DJ mentions here is the best hope to reach 2nd generation Asian-Americans. It avoids 1) the cavalier rebelling against the 1st generation, acknowledging we need their help and 2) allow for truly missional ministries to the 2nd generation.
The only weakness I see is the YOUTH (middle school-highschool-college?), who will be left in the 1st generation church with no older 2nd generation adults to help out. Has anybody seen this problem in these models? The only solutions I can think of is:
1) have the youth go to the 2nd-gen church plant from the get-go (which actually would be better anyways…it would be hard to be a missional youth ministry in the 1st gen church) or
2) have the 2nd gen church members commit to serving the youth at the 1st gen church while going to the 2nd gen church.
Ben Pun, http://www.xanga.com/bpun
Ben, Our church board has actually discussed this issue and considered the pros and cons of both options that you mention. The problem is that a 1st gen church really needs an English ministry, not only for the youth but also for a place for them to bring their English speaking friends and neighbors. I don’t see much possibility of an immigrant church sending their English ministry off to be an independent church and not needing to turn around and start a new EM. So the question becomes how to launch a new AA church and still retain at least a small EM at the mother church.
right, but if the reason for keeping a “small EM” in the 1st gen church is to create a place for them to invite friends to (I use the term “missional” here), I’m not sure if this is possible. That’s the whole reason you are planting a new church for the 2nd generation: because you see that keeping them in the 1st generation church is hampering their mission to their friends and neighbors (many of whom are not asian — this is true for the youth too!). Why would that be any different for the youth? My observation, as a youth minister in a chinese church, is that the most “healthy” 2nd gen. youth ministries really are mainly ministering the youth IN the church, and growth comes mainly from the children of new 1st generation parents who come into the church. All this to say, that type of ministry is needed and good (heck, that’s what I’m doing). But if we are talking about truly starting missional 2nd generation ministries, I think things need to change.
The other issue that is problematic for youth ministry, though, is that so much of youth ministry is connected to family ministry…it’s not healthy to separate the youth from their parents (parents teaching them one thing, youth ministry teaching them another)…but with the culture gaps between the youth and the parents, I’m not really sure how this works in the Asian church.
My first reason for saying that any immigrant church needs an EM is that if people are still coming into this country and having children, then there will need to be a ministry for them. I think that this is the main reason that they still need an EM. I’m not sure that many people would accept the idea of sending their children to a different church to be ministered to there. Except… maybe.. if the daughter AA church and the original church maintain a very close relationship. But I don’t know if I am being too idealistic to think that that would even be possible.
The second reason has to do with the general calling of all Christians to share the Gospel. If there is an EM to which people in the immigrant church can invite their non-Chinese speaking friends it opens an opportunity for evangelism. This has happened in my church on a fairly regular basis. By the way, an increasing number of the youth in our youth fellowship are from non-Christian families, and a significant number of them are non-Chinese.
I have heard of a number of Korean churches that have deliberately sent off their EM to become an independent English-only church, and then immediately started building a new EM. I’m hoping that someone from one of those churches will comment here.
Ben, Ken, thanks for your thoughtful considerations. These are not easy issues to wrestle with, but they need to be talked about openly, and to have people all around to consider the many options and opportunities available. The best of all possibilities is for a church to realize that reproduction is a part of a healthy and vibrant church, so that even if an ethnic Asian church launches out an independent English ministry to reach people who wouldn’t come to a traditional church, there is still room to develop an English ministry department within the Asian church to minister to those who need that context. It’s this idea of a both/and, that the harvest is plentiful, and we need more ministries and more churches of all kinds.
Thanks, DJ. I like the concept of “both/and.” I believe that we need to launch more English-only AA churches, but that immigrant churches still need a healthy EM. I just wanted to make sure no one thought that my remarks above implied that I don’t think we need AA churches. We do!
I’m sure you remember the church in the book -GHAAC. I think they mentioned Evergreen as coming from a Japanese background and now is more Pan-Asian.
Has anyone from Vox Veniae-ACC responded to this thread? I think ACC is working on planting another church in the Northwest region of Austin.
I know some really bad ones in NYC! -_-
I’m a 24 year old Vietnamese American from Florida. I have worked in ministry for the past 6 years, leading my church, statewide, and helping out with national Vietnamese youth camps and conferences. The ministry I’m beginning here in the the greater Tampa Bay area is called Asian American Intercultural Ministry (AAIM) beginning in mid-January. This ministry will start by reaching out the primarily unchurched English-speaking college and young professional who are not growing spiritually in their 1st Generation ethnic church or have stopped attending altogether.
Funny that DJ mentions this issue because for quite some time now, I have approached countless Asian-ethnic 1st Generation churches in the area with the hopes to perhaps start an English-speaking ministry/para-church/church underneath their church. The main ideal I was look for was the fact that they needed to share the same vision to build the next generation church and have a heart for the 2nd Generation. I have been unsuccessful thus far. Every pastor have had a tremendous response and show great support, however, no one has shared that vision. I have talked to or will begin speaking with 5 Vietnamese churches, 4 Chinese churches, 1 Hmong church, 1 Asian church, and a Korean church in the area.
As of right now, I would follow under the cavalier rebellion against the 1st generation.
(BTW, I have attended Emmanuel in Philadelphia and they are doing great things up there! There is another Korean college ministry up there too just as large; last time I check, around 300+ college attendees weekly.)
Since writing this blog post, I’ve found 2 more 1st-gen churches that have intentionally launched out 2nd-gen churches to reach their broader community: Young Nak Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles and Sarang (Anaheim, CA).
Young Nak’s model is 2 churches on 1 campus, so the Korean church and the English church are both fully autonomous and independent, yet have (some?) shared ministries for Christian Education. Plus, they have launched an open-air church in Skid Row and a Spanish ministry too.
Sarang is in the process of launching an independent English-speaking church later this year, and that’ll be reaching a new community, while the mother church develops a more integrated model to serve 1.5-gen Koreans.
I'm from Miami, Florida and planted a 2nd-gen hispanic church. I'd love to hear some of the issues that 2nd-gen Koreans deal with to see the similarities with 2nd-gen hispanics. I'm sure there are parallel issues.
Danny, I agree there are many common issues among the 2nd generation ethnic churches / church leaders. I’m not sure what is the best forum to make that happen, though. Maybe something over the internet?