Category Archives: ministry

intentionally raising up the next generation

[I haven’t yet figured out how to blog by cell phone, so this is being posted in retrospect]

[Was] Here at a camp site call Trinity Pines near Houston. I was honored and privileged to be invited to present a workshop on being a witness to culture at this tri-ennial RENDER conference.

This event is specifically designed to help young adults explore and discern their calling to vocational ministry. There are 32 in attendance, with 12 mentors. This is a very healthy and helpful ratio, and fits with the feedback we’ve heard time and time again from next generation Asians, that they would like to have role models and mentors. I know of no other event like this anywhere for next gen Asian Americans. Most if not all are from Texas (mostly Dallas, Houston, Austin).

Very grateful to be here on behalf of L2 Foundation. I’ll post my presentation along with the recorded audio here later this week.

[update] Listen to the Render keynotes and panel discussions online. The 2 forums and Q&A session are particularly insightful.

converting night club into community center

3 media outlets reported on news of Vox Veniae, the Christian community led by pastors Gideon Tsang and Weylin Lee, leasing a former East Austin night club and converting it into a community center and worship gathering space.

An excerpt from the Austin American-Statesman newspaper article::

The former site of a trouble-prone nightclub on East 12th Street will be born again.

A community center run by Vox Veniae, a Christian congregation with a focus on community service, is slated to take over the building previously occupied by Chester’s Club.

The after-hours, bring-your-own-bottle venue got attention citywide in June when an Austin police officer fatally shot a patron near the club. Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo on Wednesday fired Sgt. Michael Olsen, who shot Kevin Brown.

A couple of months after the shooting, the City Council passed an ordinance regulating BYOB venues. Chester’s shut down. And neighbors who had for months complained about activity around the club were satisfied.

Gideon Tsang, one of the pastors of Vox Veniae, said the group signed a five-year lease. It hopes to move in by January and start mentoring, computer training and after-school programs by early summer.

Volunteers began renovations Monday inside the 4,800-square-foot building, he said.

Also, get an inside look at their renovation photos.

research from Willow Creek Church reveals insights

This TownHall.com article by Bob Burney is making its way around, A Shocking “Confession” from Willow Creek Community Church, excerpted below:

Willow Creek has released the results of a multi-year study on the effectiveness of their programs and philosophy of ministry. The study’s findings are in a new book titled “Reveal: Where Are You?,” co-authored by Cally Parkinson and Greg Hawkins, executive pastor of Willow Creek Community Church. Hybels himself called the findings “ground breaking,” “earth shaking” and “mind blowing.” And no wonder: It seems that the “experts” were wrong.

The report reveals that most of what they have been doing for these many years and what they have taught millions of others to do is not producing solid disciples of Jesus Christ. Numbers yes, but not disciples. It gets worse. Hybels laments:

“Some of the stuff that we have put millions of dollars into thinking it would really help our people grow and develop spiritually, when the data actually came back it wasn’t helping people that much. Other things that we didn’t put that much money into and didn’t put much staff against is stuff our people are crying out for.”

If you simply want a crowd, the “seeker-sensitive” model produces results. If you want solid, sincere, mature followers of Christ, it’s a bust. In a shocking confession, Hybels states:

“We made a mistake. What we should have done when people crossed the line of faith and become Christians, we should have started telling people and teaching people that they have to take responsibility to become ‘self feeders.’ We should have gotten people, taught people, how to read their Bible between services, how to do the spiritual practices much more aggressively on their own.”

Read the full article and comments at TownHall.com and also the discussions in the comment thread at Out of Ur’s blog entry titled Willow Creek Repents? Why the most influential church in America now says “We made a mistake.” For more information about the research, see www.revealnow.com and the Reveal blog. See the Key Findings for a great summary.

Church Planting to Reach Asian People Groups

According to the October 30th issue of The Tool Shed, the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention‘s newsletter for church planting partners, Asian people groups are the fastest growing ethnicity (percentage-wise) in North America and in Texas. The newsletter links over to Church Planting Village‘s introductory articles about church planting to reach Asians:

Nearly 2,000 Baptist congregations have been established among the Asians, and more are envisioned for the twenty-first century. An example of this is the more than 700 Korean congregations and the more than 180 Filipino churches across North America. Yet great opportunities still exist. Southern Baptists face a dynamic challenge in the United States and Canada to reach out to both foreign-born and American-born Asians.

Overviews of pecific people group in North America include: Asians in America, Asian Indian, Cambodian, Chinese, Filipino, Hmong Americans, Indonesians, Japanese, Korean, Laotian, Vietnamese, and Second-Generation Asians in North America.

more on campus fellowships

In a recent issue of Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, this feature article Asianisation of Campus Fellowships,

Asian American college students are often stereotyped as immersed in math clubs or networking groups for future engineers or doctors. However, the campus groups that Asians most commonly join are actually Christian fellowships, educators say. In fact, Asian membership in the ministries has exploded in recent years and is most striking at the most prestigious schools around the country.

Dr. Rebecca Kim, assistant professor of sociology at Pepperdine University, researched Asian American evangelism at campuses around the country for her 2006 book, God’s New Whiz Kids. She found that among the more than 50 Christian groups at the University of California, Berkeley, 80 percent of the members were of Asian descent, even though they made up 40 percent of the student body. The same held true among the 50-plus counterpart groups at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Meanwhile, on the East Coast, one out of four practicing Christians at New York City colleges was Asian, according to Kim. At Harvard University, Asian Americans made up 70 percent of the Harvard-Radcliffe Christian Fellowship. Yale University’s chapter of Campus Crusade for Christ was 90 percent Asian, a stark contrast to the fact that it was all White in the early 1980s.

The 10 InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA chapters with the largest Asian memberships, often as high as 80 percent, were at schools where enrollment was anywhere from 11 to 28 percent Asian: Boston, Cornell, Emory, Harvard, MIT, Northwestern, Rutgers, the University of Illinois- Chicago, the University of Michigan and the University of Washington.

Read the full article for additional statistics, anecdotal commentaries, and quotes from Dr. Peter Cha, Paul Tokunaga, and Dr. Rebecca Kim.

ministering to 2 very different generations

Wednesday Journal is a local newspaper for the Oak Park and River Forest communities in the Chicago, Illinois, suburbs. Their recent article, Speaking to the heart of very different generations, highlighted 4 models for ministering to the different generations within an immigrant ethnic church:

What speaks to the hearts of immigrant congregations and their children when it comes to worship? Is the gap between generations bridgeable? Ethnic pastors in this area have come up with various models for ministering to the two generations in their congregations:

1) Remain traditional
2) Separate and equal
3) Blended
4) Separate

Read the full article to see the stories of churches from the Indian, Chinese, Thai, Filipino, and Mexican communities.

Survey of English Pastors in Chinese Churches

This April 2007 survey, CCCOWE English Task Force Survey 2007: The Needs of English-Speaking Chinese Churches & Their Leaders, gives a broad sampling of insights based on 62 respondents from all over the world — 32 of those responses were from North America (13 from the USA – Southern California and New York, 19 from Canada – Vancouver and Toronto). CCCOWE (Chinese Coordination Centre of World Evangelism) is a mission-centered para-church organization that aims to promote world mission among Chinese churches that is developing partnership with the upcoming English-speaking new generation.

Here’s a few highlights from the survey results, summarized by an Australian blogger:

In April 2007 the CCCOWE English task force conducted a survey of English pastors of Chinese churches from a number of different countries . That survey asked questions about a range of things such as the level of stress they experienced due to challenges in ministry; the attrition rate of English pastors; and the perceived needs in Chinese churches.

One shocking statistic is the attrition rate of English senior pastors and assistant pastors in the Chinese church. In the 2001-2006 period, 163 pastors had left Chinese churches to do ministry elsewhere – that’s about 27 pastors a year!

Take a look at the survey results and graphs at www.cccowe.org/eng/content.php?id=69 [ht: Andrew Hong]