Tonight at the Asian-American Caucus for the American Baptist Churches biennial convention, Pastor Ken Fong of Evergreen LA discussed the task ahead for our churches. While the event was in the context of the AA American Baptist churches, the challenge applies to all Asian-American churches. Pastor Ken laments that our churches are generally stagnant, struggling; or dying. What do we do? How can we become the redemptive and transforming communities we talk about?

Pastor Ken directed us towards a paradoxical principle: “To go forward, think backwards.” In other words, start with the end in mind.
Instead of talking about structures and programs, think about people.

What kind of people has Jesus always wanted to send into the world?

  • A kingdom-bringing people: living proof of God’s coming on earth.
  • Fountains of grace rather than legalism.
  • Bringers of reconciliation, peace, hope, and justice.
  • “Heroic apprentices” of Jesus Christ to embody the good news.

Then, what kind of Asian-American churches do we need in order to raise up these kinds of people?

  • Churches with a compelling vision of God’s future
  • Willingness to die to self so we don’t become too complacent, self-righteous, and comfortable.
  • Willingness to partner with others, because anything truly for God requires more than we have and more than we know.

Then, what leadership do we need for these churches?

  • Pastors who are humble enough to know that all of us are followers, and that Jesus is our leader.
  • Pastors who model our need for Jesus, not just talk about it.
  • Pastors who truly believe that Jesus is alive today, and wants to use His entire body to love and change the world.