Growing Healthy Asian American Churches, 5

We’re making steady progress in our blog-based book discussion of Growing Healthy Asian American Churches Growing Healthy Asian American Churches . This week we delve into Chapter 4, which is titled, Healthy Leaders, Healthy Households: Practices and Values.

For those of you tuning in, but don’t attend an Asian American church or even a church with significant proportions of Asians, you should find this book helpful for non-Asian church contexts as well, since it describes fairly universal characteristics for any healthy church. Note that this book is not a theological exhortation, per se, the way Mark Devers vigorously challenges contemporary churches in Nine Marks of a Healthy Church.

Discussion questions for Chapter 4:

  • 4 ingredients are listed for building healthy leadership teams: choose and use team members well, build trust among leaders, pursue conflict resolution vigorously, and cultivate the vision. Would you add some other ingredients that have been helpful in building a healthy leadership team?
  • 4 values were particularly descriptive of Asian American church leaders: pursuing a balanced life, demonstrating vulnerability, valuing team ministry, and recognizing God’s leadership.
  • The closing part of the chapter makes a noted distinction between building a household (where redemptive relationships are flourishing along with right doctrines and programs) versus building a house (where right doctrines and right programs are maintained). What steps can your church take to move from a functional house towards a fulfilling household?

[related elsewhere]

  • While it may be an extreme to divide Asian Americans into subcultures, I think that perhaps there is some merit into categorizing our experiences further for more strategic ways of approaching cultural church contexts.
  • Sometimes western culture is presented as merely that kind of self-ish individualism that seeks to satisfy ones own pleasures, which instrumentalises and attacks life for the consequential maximization of pleasure. But surely this is just a slanted characterization. As an Asian I have great admiration and draw much profit from the (distinguishable) good stuff that comes out of the West.
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    1. William Woo says:

      Well in chapter four of Growing Healthy Asian American Churches, they talked about sharing weakness and such, esp. as leaders. How much is adequate? It seems that God uses many types, and I guess I’m all for being transparent. The book mentions the future of ministry for pastors would be as a team member vs. being the “jack of all trades.” Sounds good.

      In a previous chapter, the influence of Confucionism was discussed. I guess because this book is so wide in scope, I was under the impression that Asian American Churches were those who were removed from the ethnic church, where immigration, assimilation, and language are a big factor. I find that 2nd and later generation Asian Americans operate less from a Confucian culture and more American. I find that this is a big issue with first generation/immigrant/ethnic churches. I wonder if the big issue is language? From the example in the book, the church started a new congregation. That congregation didn’t last. I wonder if the “mother” church was too patronistic, in keeping this congregation under their roof, when they should’ve planted a new congregation?

      I read this book about 10 year ago.”Sacred Cows Make Gourmet Burgers: Ministry Anytime, Anywhere by Anyone (Paperback)” One of the illustrations from it involved the imagery of basketball. Easum proposed minsitry in which looked like a basketball team where different people were allowed to touch the ball and make plays. Of course who would give that much freedom with the budget? To be able to spend without having to go through all these steps.

      In Chicago the pastor of the largest multiethnic church said that if you can stick as close to the bible as possible, that is the best way to go. So I ask that question of myself. Did DJ raise the question of where in the bible did we have a multicultural church? I guess Acts at Pentecost would be a prime example, as there were Jews from all sorts of areas from around the Roman world. Presumably others too, like Jewish converts or believers…The early church had those who came from a Jewish background, and there were also new Gentile believers, do the passages pertaining to their difficulties apply to us today?

      Sometimes it would seem that old world values creep in, like fear of foreigners, etc. As a Chinese American, how Biblical, or Christlike is the idea that one should marry Chinese? On another level there are those who take over congregations and people don’t see them for who they are because they speak the language. And there are times where people make arbitrary decisions for the congregation based on the fact that they are older. The things coming out of their mouths are nonsensical but people listen anyway because of the whole “face” issue…