As we persevere through our blog-based book discussion of Growing Healthy Asian American Churches, we reach Chapter 5, which is titled, Trusting Households: Openness to Change.
This is my favorite topic, because I thrive on change. For most people, and Asians are included in that mix, change is disliked, avoided, uncomfortable, and even threatening. For me, change is energizing and motivating — it is life!This chapter revolves around the “hive” at Evergreen Baptist Church of Los Angeles, a notable change that spun off 2 separate independent churches over the span of over a year. You can also hear another retelling of this story from Ken Fong, who spoike about this event at a conference earlier this year. Contrast this with the multi-site revolution where over 1500 churches are keeping one administration and meeting at multiple sites.
What I find amazing about this congregation is how it has changed throughout its 75+ year history, as cultures have ebbed and flowed, and it stays relevant to ministering to growing numbers of people.
Discussion questions for Chapter 5:
- On page 107, the author observes: “The willingness and courage to engage in change requires risk: … trying and failing.. raising hopes.. and then .. becoming disillusioned..” What have you found helpful to overcome resistance to change in a corporate setting like a church?
- On page 109, the author states: “The most important commodity in change dynamics is trust.” What are other important commodities?
- 7 ingredients for change in a church were synthesized and listed at the end of this chapter: initiation, identification, inquiry, invitation, information, implementation, and influence. Which step(s) take the most time and effort? Would it be overspiritualizing to say that intercession has to undergird the whole process?
mezuzah: I was deeply touched by the whole Evergreen story. How a first generation congregation moved across the street leaving the 2nd generation the chance to reach to the broader community. On page 110 when it was mentioned that the Evergreen Pastor had two “simple” objectives: to PREACH the word, and pray.
dpark: They addressed problems and concerns from the pulpit, which encouraged many of us to seek God and intercede for the church and our body of believers. In fact, whenI was considering on whether to join this church or not, they actually gave me a welcome video that included the pastor telling me the strengths and giftings of other churches that I should consider in the area that could also appeal to me. This type of honesty, clarity, and openness I have yet to see in the Asian American churches I have visited or been a part of.
The question was posed yesterday: “Why do you stay at CCMC? Why don’t you join that Bible believing church down the street?” … I stay at CCMC because: I made a committment to the local church when I accepted Christ as my savior and lord. … I see the hope in the future generation. … I see the hope in the older generation. … I do not see willingly breaking the body of Christ as a biblical alternative. I will not say “since I do not speak Chinese, I do not belong, I need to worship somewhere else” I will not say “Since you don’t speak English, you don’t belong, you need to worship somewhere, sometime else.” I do not see that as a viable alternative.
Although Youngnak church is a traditional and institutional church, there exists some factor as emerging church. For example, YoungNak has the English ministry from the Korean ministry. They were mainly composed of the second generation Korean-Americans. This is a attempt to become an Emerging church. However, a traditional and conservative church like Youngnak church did not make much effort to be postmodern and may not have been able to practice enough. Since many new Korean immigrants come to the church for survival and information regardless of faith, so the Korean church does not sensitive to transform its structure as U.S. church does.
… it is not just the gospel, but styles of worship including alternative worship that need contextualization. In my opinion introducing alternative worship to Korean churches would provoke many arguments and negative responses, especially from mainstream Presbyterian denominations. At the same time young generations, having post-modern mindset, would welcome alternative worship.
Korean churches know well YoungNak church has been a leadership role in the Korean immagrant churches during a few decades. And I agree with your comment, that ?the YoungNak church?s mission is to maximize the capacity of Korean American faith-based community to remove the cultural, language and economic barriers.? I think that the church is doing their best not only to the Korean churches but also immagrant society in LA. However, things that I regret about the church, firstly, the church is still based on their parents generations-centered worship and ministries. Although they have developed the youth department, the church is, as you said, being moved ?totally in the out-of-date system of the Korean church. I can not judge their theology, but I think the church needs more flexibility and cultural characteristics to approach postmodern generation.
I’m also planning on posting my opinion on Asian-American churches. Personally I find the concept of one extra-biblical at best and unbiblical at worst. If anyone has any reasons why we should have Asian American churches… I’d like to hear it. But I will post my reasons in the future.
I’ve meditated on the struggle. I’m not Korean, but I can understand those feelings inadequacy that one feels when they’ve haven’t lived up to their parents’ expectations, not matter how many “A’s” or diplomas you bring home. … For me, the things that I’ve struggled with are the issues of competency (am I actually good at teaching, or do I just think I’m good at it?), issues of calling (is this what God has called me to invest my life in?), and issues of what I call (for lack of a better term)… “Asian American provider” syndrome.