women Asian American Christian ministry leaders

Asian American women

Finding voices and faces that can better connect and/or represent both genders in actual diversity of the Christian church can seem elusive, especially in a financially-driven world.
One of the currently under-represented grouping is Asian American women who are Christian ministry leaders, be it church or parachurch. Kathy Khang has started a great list of Christian Asian American female leaders. Here’s a copy of that list with a snapshot of what they’ve done and/or how they’re notable [in no particular order]:

This is an incomplete list, for starters — please add a comment with other women leaders who should be listed. While typing out the title for this blog post, I fumbled around with the word order, i.e. “women Asian American church leaders,” “Christian Asian American women leaders,” “Asian American women ministry leaders,” or “Asian American women church leaders” … I wanted to name this grouping of women leaders who were involved in vocational Christian ministry related to an Asian American context.

How can we better address the current situation of the American church leadership tier being disproportionately represented by one demographic, when the actual demographic make-up of church attendance (or locality) is far more diverse — ethnically, gender, socio-economic, etc ? How much of the Lausanne Global Conversation will percolate and change the American church?

Yes, it’s all quite complicated, with dynamics involving organizational viability, market forces & economics, regional and local distinctives, racialized history, philosophy of ministry, church growth theories, theological convictions, denominational heritage. To sweep it under the rug of the spiritual being transcendent and the inequalities of our social reality being insignificant seems quite a gnostic notion.

To remain silent about this in the public arena of the blogosphere doesn’t seem to help anything. This may well be one of those things where annual reports of measurable results may be a bit short-sighted for much-needed longer-term endeavors. The issue is not going away. When will the church engage?

You may also like...

30 Responses

  1. Wayne Park says:

    Great list…

  2. Tom Steers says:

    Debbie Law Schwartz — Co-director of Asian American Ministries; Co-Vice President of the U.S. Navigators; co-leads ethnic ministry division called Spectrum

  3. Drew Yamamoto says:

    I would like to add Robyn Afrik Youth/AmeriCorps Program Director @ Good Samaritan Ministries, who will be a speaker @ the multiethnic church conference in San Diego with you, DJ, as well as En Young Kim, the coordinator for Pacific and Asian American Ministries for the Reformed Church in America.

  4. Sung says:

    There are many female Asian United Methodist church pastors who would also speak if asked. June Kim also is a General Secretary of UMCOR which is our global mission arm.

  5. dragon says:

    Motoe Yamada
    Senior Pastor
    Sacramento Japanese United Methodist Church

    Very large church with 600 plus members in the south part of California’s capital city.

    Is she one of the first Asian American women to lead an Asian American Church?

  6. djchuang says:

    @Tom, @Drew, @Sung, @dragon: thanks for adding to the list!

  7. daniel so says:

    DJ – Thanks for highlighting this great group of leaders! I haven’t heard her speak, but I hear good things about Dr. Josephine Kim (http://www.gse.harvard.edu/faculty_research/profiles/profile.shtml?vperson_id=74415 and http://www.msgeneration.com/staff.html).

  8. Charles Lee says:

    Thanks for this important post! I look forward to learning more about these significant voices.

  9. Alan Oda says:

    Three additional names come to mind. Rev. Carolyn Shimabukuro, head of JEMS Pacific Northwest ministries and veteran staffer of Asian American Christian Fellowship. Junko Cheng, whose ministry of music has reached across all ages, and has also quietly served the Japanese speaking Christian community. Last but not least, Eleanor Huang, one of the founding members and the first Board Chair of the Asian American Christian Counseling Service, a ministry about to celebrate 25 years of service to Southern California and beyond.

  10. Joy Wong says:

    Thanks for your list, DJ, as well as those names added by others! I’m thinking about doing a spotlight entry on a different Asian American woman in ministry leadership (perhaps once a month?) on our AAWOL blog, just to make these women more accessible to other Asian American women looking for role models. I can’t tell you how moved and encouraged I am when our fellow brothers in Christ show support for us — thank you from the bottom of my heart! -Joy

  11. DJ Chuang says:

    Hello Joy, great to hear of the AAWOLsisters.com blog and the new book launch! What a great effort and contribution to the Kingdom – thanks for speaking up and putting it in print!