This morning, over 50 pastors, seminary students, and leaders got together for an English Ministry Pastors’ Fellowship, focusing on English ministry to Asian Americans. Formerly associated with Los Angeles-county based gatherings called Fellowship of American Chinese Evangelicals, this event was facilitated by retired pastor Wayland Wong and held at Chinese Evangelical Free Church in Monterey Park (a.k.a. the big white church on Atlantic).

Wayland Wong gave some thoughts about the needs and trends of Asian American ministry, and DJ Chuang of L2 Foundation gave a talk about “Ministering to the Next Generation of Asian Americans.” You can watch the video and see the presentation at DJ’s blog here:

http://l2foundation.org/2009/ministering-to-asian-americans-notes

It was a great time for me to network and connect with some guys that I’ve only known through the web, as well as many local Chinese American pastors or those ministering to English-speaking Chinese Americans.

Also, it was a time to talk about and discuss different issues pertaining to Asian American ministry today. Here are some insights that I especially appreciated from DJ’s presentation, as well as thoughts from Wayland Wong and the conversations I had with others today:

  • Japanese Americans have really been the pioneers for Asian American ministries.
    As their churches have had a distinct and developed history, we observe that Chinese American ministries has followed a starkly similar trend to the Japanese American ministries, dealing with the same issues and making similar mistakes.  Can we help the Korean Americans and the southeast Asian Americans with wisdom so they do not make similar mistakes?
  • 56% of Asian Americans are unchurched.
    Can we step away from our debates about how church should look, and focus our energies on making sure these Asian Americans are reached with the gospel? What can we do to “become all things to all men” (1 Corinthians 9:22) for the sake of our Asian American friends?
  • We need permission to fail. The common complaint among English-speaking ministers of immigrant-led churches is their lack of autonomy. Without the freedom to try new things to make the church relevant to this generation, how can we hope to reach them with the gospel? Many English-speaking ministers long for the opportunity to lead their congregations in new ways including social justice and counseling, but often do not get permission to try.

Overall, it was a great time to connect, worship God together, pray together, and discuss issues in ministry. I appreciate the time that everyone took out of their schedule to make this happen. I hope there will be more of these fellowship gatherings for camaraderie, support, and accountability, not just in LA county but all across the country in other metropolitan areas.

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