These excerpts from a 2008 report on Chinese churches in the San Francisco Bay area provides some reasons for why Chinese churches grow:
… Dr. James Chuck, Director of the Bay Area Chinese Churches Research Project and Senior Consultant for ISAAC … described the growth of the number of Chinese congregations in the Bay Area, from 15 congregations in 1950 to 158 in 1996 …
Reasons given for this growth included the rapid increase of the Chinese population, wider geographical dispersion of Chinese in the Bay Area, Chinese coming from more diverse points of origin, immigrant pastors and their overseas network, the contribution of overseas Chinese students who had been nurtured in Chinese Bible study groups on U. S. campuses, church splits, the planting of new churches, increased involvement by denominations who had not previously worked in Chinese in the Bay Area, and the leadership of some gifted and entrepreneurial leaders, and last but not least the leading and the power of the Holy Spirit.
… various issues facing the Chinese churches in the Bay Area … The top priorities in the South Bay are: Spiritual Development and Leader Development. The second tier priorities are: Mission Outreach and Christian Education followed by Church Life.
Spiritual Development and Christian Education appeared also in the San Francisco and East Bay churches. Leader Development and Mission Outreach/Evangelism appeared in all four groups.
The concern for Church Life or Church Health only appeared in the South Bay and Alameda suggesting that in many of the newer churches, there are concerns about generational issues, communication, and church unity.
The churches perhaps older and historic in SF Chinatown and San Francisco expressed the priority of Retention of Members and Replenishment of Members.
Project Contempo is doing a national online survey of the English-speaking congregations of the Canadian Chinese churches. This national survey is not primarily a survey of churches but a survey of individuals. These include all who attend the English service of a Canadian Chinese church, irrespective of their age, employment and ethnicity. All responses will be kept anonymous and the results will be tabulated and analyzed nationally.
With permission from Russell Jeung, we are grateful for being able to post yesterday’s talk online. Here’s the audio (mp3 – run time = 42:17) and slides from his March 6th presentation about Asian American religious affiliation >>
This 11-minute video titled “English speaking ministry in the Chinese church” explores the differences between Chinese-speaking overseas-born Chinese and English-speaking Canadian-born Chinese, what is an English speaking ministry in a Chinese church, differences between English-speaking and Chinese-speaking congregations, as well as challenges and solutions for an English-speaking ministry.
In 2001, there were over 1 million Chinese in Canada, the largest visible minority group. 75% of them lived in Toronto and Vancouver.
Three languages — Cantonese, Mandarin and English — are commonly spoken among Chinese, depending on where they are coming from. As a result, parallel ministries in different languages — Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin) and English– are becoming common in Chinese churches.
According to this promotional video for the recent Render Conference (near Houston), less than 2% of American Born Chinese (ABCs) attend church here in the United States.
I’m not sure where that statistic comes from, as I do not know of a comprehensive study that documents this demographics’ church attendance, but if it is anywheres near accurate, and it may be in certain localities, it shows us the urgency of reaching this next generation.
What is your sense of how many American Born Chinese and/or next generation Asian Americans attend church?