- Reference Points
- Asian American Christians
- Asian Americans
- Christianity in the World
- Christianity in America
- Spectrum of Views
We’re sharing our thinking behind the 7 challenges that inform our mission. Our mission is to ask what God is doing in us, to hear and gather all Asian American Christian voices and build inroads necessary for understanding, reconciliation and fellowship.
AsianAmericanChristian.org is a proposal for a new ministry that offers a framework and a way forward. If you’re wondering where these ideas are coming from, read this. If you’re interested and would perhaps like to join our feedback sessions this Fall, join our mailing list.
Many perceive Asian American ministries as irrelevant.
ethnic churches – multiethnic churches – Asian American churches – emerging generations – seminary-trained Evangelicals – Asian American ministry alumni
This is the second challenge that our mission addresses.
Today, we’ll address ethnic churches.
By “ethnic church,” we mean our “Korean churches” or “Hmong churches” or “Japanese churches.” This term comes from academics; we of course would just think of these churches just as “church” or perhaps our “home church.”
And we also want to acknowledge that not every person at an ethnic church thinks Asian American ministries is irrelevant. We have met so many of you who support us, who serve us, who have added so much to our ministries. We have met so many of you who KNOW you are part of our ministries, and that is indeed very true. AsianAmericanChristian.org very much supports and wants to honor you.
However, there is a perception that Asian American ministries is irrelevant. It is a renegade second generation thing.
Why we perceive this to be a second+ generation thing
You are not the only group who assume Asian American ministries is mostly a second+ generation one. The second+ generation often have assumed this too.
As Korean or Indian or Japanese American Christians go beyond their circles, sometimes there’s not enough Koreans or Chinese or Laotians. They will naturally form friendships with other Asian Americans (and other Americans). Second+ generation have pioneered ministries under the moniker of “Asian American” to address friendships, needs and callings, and because of their misunderstandings with you, their home churches.
As many second+ generation (the children of immigrants, or the children of children of immigrants) have found it less comfortable in while majority culture settings, Asian American ministries filled the gap to evangelize and disciple second+ generation Asian Americans. They’ve done a great job; even secular academics have noticed how many second+ generation Asian Americans are becoming Christian.
Many second+ generation have also pioneered ministries in response to you, their home churches. Despite desires to love and honor you, communication and understanding can be difficult and frustrating. Ideas of it means to grow as a Christian, as a Christian leader can clash—though this seems to be a less evident tension as parents and children are getting along better, perhaps because parents are immigrating from a more Western influenced and more prosperous Asia.
Why we perceive this to be a “renegade” second generation thing
But many clashes have occurred between generations—and many of you have found this shocking. The second+ generation has not obeyed you or “honored their father and mother” like it says in Exodus 20:12 or Ephesians 6:2. Some of them have taken verses like Luke 14:26 too much to heart: “if anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.” Some of them disagree with your interpretations of the Bible, some of them find your faith bound too much to Asian culture. Some have gone so far to call you “non-Christian,” to say you are not following Christ.
Some second+ generation have worked hard to really speak to you, to understand and honor you, and some have not tried at all. Many have left your churches, and some have left behind many broken relationships. A couple past Asian American ministries have seemed to encourage this; they have spoken about you in really negative tones.
This hurts a lot because these relationships are perhaps the most important to us! Separation and discord break our hearts and can be excruciatingly painful. You are parents, and to many, parents in the faith. You have great influence over the second+ generation.
AsianAmericanChrisitan.org wants to assert that you are Asian American Christians also, and you are an integral part of our ministries.
You are Asian American Christians also.
According to the US Census, you are Asian Americans. And since you profess Christ, you are Christians as well. “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” (1 Corinthians 12:27)
You have a part to play, and that part is different depending on your context. “But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.” (1 Corinthians 12:18) And you have been your part, being yourselves in Christ. You have been making disciples. You have been honoring Christ. With Asian Americans making up the largest portion of immigrants annually, and 74% of Asian Americans foreign born, you will undoubtedly continue to have a large part to play.
Asian American Christian.org wants to help meet your immediate needs and also attend to other root issues.
We want to help find ways to ease our misunderstandings.
We want to help sort out our misunderstandings by taking a step back to understand our contexts. We want to ask: What is God doing in us? to know people’s stories and to see trends, and indirectly as we try to understand our various reference points. We want to ask you for your stories, in your own words, and if resources allow for translators, we’d love to hear from you in your native tongues.
We want to make current resources known and available. And in time, we want constructively to meet Asian American Christians where we’re at, and help create timely and useful resources. We want to train and empower the Body of Christ.
Psalm 145: 3-7 is our hope:
Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.
One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts.
They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty—and I will meditate on your wonderful works.
They tell of the power of your awesome works—and I will proclaim your great deeds.
They celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.
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SUMMER AND FALL 2015
Asian American Ministries
Frames of Reference
7 challenges to
Asian American Ministries
Asian American Ministers,
this mainly is for you.
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2015, 2014, 2013