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?
Eugene Hor is a member of the CCCOWE English Task Force, and has served as an English pastor for the last 9 years at Burwood Chinese Presbyterian Church in Sydney, Australia, an intergenerational Chinese Church.
Eugene recently stopped by here and left a detailed comment about his observations as an advocate of English ministry within the Chinese church, and describes the challenges of ministering in that context. This is an excerpt of a lengthy discourse:
Why does the Chinese church continue to lament the loss of their English pastors when they keep driving them out? We don’t need understanding, we need real change if the Chinese church is to keep it’s English pastors. The bottom line as I see it, is that if the Chinese church and its leadership think they can better run and grow English ministry than their English pastor, then let them do it. If not, they should empower and free their English pastors to do what God has called them to do in a way that will best reach and grow the second generation.
Thanks to the AALC 2008 planning team for hosting the gathering of Asian American church and ministry leaders, and the kind invitation for me to present.
The title of my presentation was “Revitalizing Asian American Churches for New Generations”. I painted a big picture with statistics about Asian Americans in the United States, and shared about a random sampling of churches that are making notable progress in reaching the next generation. Here’s the slides and audio (download mp3, file size=23mb):
[astute listeners will notice that my slides here don’t exactly match the audio; sorry, version mix-up; update — also see the Los Angeles Times article for coverage of this event]
I felt like we only barely scratched the surface on many important issues. Well, we did cover a lot of ground in less than 45 minutes. Stay tuned here for follow-up thoughts, insights, and ideas as I unpack and drill down on related issues. Please add a comment on what you’d like to see discussed further after hearing the presentation.
There’s also a great opportunity for me to more easily meet with more Asian American church and ministry leaders now that I live in Orange County. I’d enjoy getting to discuss these issues in person — contact me by phone at 949-870-5726 or email dj@L2Foundation.org .