Thank God that midterm exams are over! I get to enjoy some time off from school because of Easter recess and I am attending the Asian American Leadership Conference in Fullerton, CA.
After registration, the first day was just an evening session. Lisa Espineli Chinn encouraged us with testimony from her own journey with God that we need to seek rest. For many of us in ministry, especially as Asian-Americans, we strive to achieve, achieve, achieve–yet it leaves us ineffective, drained, and legalistic. Jesus invites us into relationship with him and to find refuge and strength through him.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. –Matthew 11:28-30
Afterwards, we were encouraged to make small groups to discuss what makes us tired and how we can manage the time God has given us. It was a blessed conversation I had with my group, and conversation shifted to the challenges we face in Asian-American ministry. Some thoughts for me to re-visit later:
- In bilingual churches, is the generational gap widening? In our efforts to respond to each other, have the immigrant and Americanized generation moved even more away from each other, neither willing to give an inch?
- Many of the Asian-American young professionals, because of negative experiences with their immigrant-led churches growing up, are moving away to different church models. The most profound fear I have in this is that they will end up not going to church at all. What can we do to keep these people in the kingdom? How can I minister to them? What will it take?
- Often those who have had negative experiences with the issues that naturally arise in immigrant-led bilingual churches is that embittered people condemn the entire church model, instead of the issue itself. For example, those who have been hurt (by the lack of autonomy given to an English Ministry, or hurt by the generational conflict, or hurt by the lack of resources given to an EM) will often say that the entire multi-lingual or ethnic-specific church model is unbiblical.
It has been great to see familiar faces, and forge new friendships so far at AALC. I am looking forward to a full day tomorrow, highlighted by speakers John Townsend and David Gibbons.