Growing Healthy Asian American Churches, 8

Chapter 7 of Growing Healthy Asian American Churches is titled Multigenerational Households, with a positive story of how one intergenerational Korean American church makes it work. The intergenerational immigrant Asian American church has colored the faith experience of so many, and it is still the setting for a large majority of Asian Americans, even though it is arguably a declining percentage among English-speaking Asian Americans.

Discussion questions for Chapter 7:

  • In what ways does the Confucian-based Asian cultures strengthen intergenerational ties in Asian American settings? In what ways does Asian cultures undermine intergenerational ties?
  • The chapter lists some specific ways to build a multigenerational Asian American church: building a unified pastoral team, strengthening relational ties among the multigenerational members, interdependent model of ministry, and partner in mission.
  • What role can an immigrant Asian church play in furthering the Great Commission by launching second-generation pan-Asian & multiethnic churches for community & global outreach?

[discussion thread]

  • mezuzah: Or perhaps the Asian American church can help a gigantic movement to reach the largest English Language People Group in the World. A group that does not know Jesus, that is desparately needing a Savior. That group of people is located in the United States. Can the Asian American church send their people into the enclaves and neighborhoods of this vast lost Nation of Rebels? Perhaps that is why AA churches are being birthed/planted now, to reach a nation which has lost her moorings?
  • marshill: Although for some churches the glue is what probably holds it together. Asian Americans stick around out of a sence of obligation, and when the older generation refuses to assimilate some more into American culture there is conflict. No reason why the statistic (p. 148) is so true. It is dubbed “The silent exodus” what astonished me was that 80-90% of Korean Americans (2nd generation) left the church vs. 70% of Chinese Americans.
  • eddiebyun: I think the church they use as an example in chapter 7 is so rare and such an exception, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes with almost every paragraph. It takes very rare senior (Korean) pastor and elder board to make it happen.


  • (San Francisco Bay Guardian) Invisible minority: A new study shows Pacific Islanders experience high dropout, arrest, and depression rates “Often grouped under the larger Asian and Pacific Islander category, Pacific Islanders’ experiences are overshadowed by larger groups like Chinese and Japanese Americans. … Now a new generation of Pacific Islander Americans is growing up and learning to navigate family, school, and church ? but many are feeling alienated from all three social structures.”
  • (Press-Enterprise) Killings stun Asian community: Slayings of their children by three fathers bring calls for more support services ‘Research suggests that more than 60 percent of Korean-American households attend church. This is why pastors need to be educated to spot problems of domestic problems and be willing to offer a hand, Chang and other experts say. This need was highlighted in a white paper submitted by the Los Angeles-based Korean Churches for Community Development in 2003. “Unfortunately, pastors and churches are also deeply embedded in the Korean patriarchal culture. Consequently, their spiritual beliefs can be biased towards supporting the suffering and submissive role of women,” the paper said. Churches need to work with service agencies and pastors need to be trained in counseling skills and when to refer victims to outside agencies, the paper said.’
  • (joooshi) i think one that i really appreciate about CCF is that there isn’t a sense of non-Asians being “honorary Asians”. the phrase reflects a rather unhelpful framework of thinking about race, diversity and God’s creation.
  • (Eugene Kim) I see it every year and to be honest, it annoys the heck out of me. Bob (fictitious character) rolls into Boston one fall for a masters … He quickly finds himself immersed in the community … He loves the vision of the church, and is excited about all that God is doing … He decides to get his hands dirty in some of the ministries of the church. His pastors see a lot of potential … He finds a couple guys whom he really connects with … It’s starting to feel like home. Then… his degree program ends and that’s the end.
  • (Mariko Kato) I have a dream. Someday, especially Japanese people ,Korean people, Chinise [sic] people and other Asian people are going to reconclie each other then cooperate together and doing huge His kingdom together!! (worship or conference or mission trip or some ministrty [sic]) I never see like that, even Asian Christian people too. So I really wana see it in His timimg [sic] and I am praying about it.
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    1. Eddie says:

      I’ve been in a variety of multi-generational Korean church contexts and combined with many friends who are/have been in these same ministry contexts, I must say this is the very rare exception in terms of how 1st generation pastors/leaders are willing to work with and partner with the 2nd generation.

      In regards one of the issues raised in the discussion questions: building a unified pastoral team, I’d like to make a comment.

      It will take a very humble and secure 1st gen pastor to be willing to put his associates on equal ground with him. This more than any other factor, I believe, is the main confucian hurdle to cross over. I’ve been in so many “staff” meetings where it’s basically a way conversation of the senior pastor giving order to everyone else and then leaves while the head associate works out the details.

      The explicit and implicit theology of the minister(s) and church leaders among each generation (1/1.5/2.0) is in greatest conflict because of the whole hierarchy mindset within Asian Confucian ideology.