Photo by harry_nl. Used in accordance with Creative Commons.
Photo by harry_nl. Used in accordance with Creative Commons.

As we mature, people develop a sense of knowing the signs of change. Perhaps it’s reading someone’s face as one’s mood changes. Or maybe it’s knowing when to leave a situation that’s about to turn dangerous. We develop a sense that things are changing, and we understand that new action should be taken to respond to the things changing.

Many young Asian American leaders in churches are seeing that things are changing. Times are different. What was effective in reaching Asian Americans 30 years ago, or 20 years ago, or even 5 years ago—may not be effective today.

We are seeing that many Asian Americans are becoming more comfortable in blended ethnic groups—perhaps with other groups of Asians, other minorities, or even with a group that reflects their neighborhood or workplace.

We are seeing that many Asian Americans are thinking outside the church box. They aren’t necessarily condemning church practices, but they are sincerely asking “Why?” when it comes to the way things are done in churches.

We are realizing that many Asian Americans don’t fit the stereotypical mold. More are excelling in areas that haven’t been considered highly among their ethnic groups: graphic arts, athletics, film making, and so on. We are realizing that Asians in America are choosing less lucrative careers. We are realizing that not all Asian Americans fit into the demographic of the wealthy and highly-educated.

To remain relevant, the church must continue to adapt to the way things are changing. We need to see how things are new and offer a never-changing gospel to an ever-changing culture.

What does it look like to minister to this generation of Asian Americans? I used to think I understood. Yet the more I observe, the more conversations I have, and the more I try new things, the less assured I am. I know there’s no “one size fits all.” The task is daunting.

Let’s figure out what is negotiable and what is non-negotiable. For the non-negotiables, let’s humbly and prayerfully consider how we can reach today’s Asian American for Christ. I’m looking forward to the challenge.

 No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch tears away from the garment, and a worse tear is made. Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.
~Matthew 9:16-17

Special thanks to my classmates in the DMin program and our professors like Benjamin Shin and DJ Chuang for the dialogue.

Related Posts:

Asian Americans and Discussing Family Issues.

Asian American Church Models

Why Ethnic Specific Ministries?