- 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.
- Every Christian, every group, every generation is called to incarnate the Gospel—and this is what these ministries do!
- Affinity groups support one another and think through specific needs for the benefit of us all!
- We have similar circumstances and problems!
- We’re lumped together; so let’s make the most of it!
- God calls us to bless one another with our gifts, so that we can all be more united in Christ.
Pre-existing Asian American ministries rarely have opportunities to cross paths. While gatherings and networks have existed; they have not always been regular, they do not always last, and they by in large do not represent all Asian American Christians. Like other Evangelical ministries, our ministries (and our publications) are bifurcated by age, ethnicity, and Christian viewpoint. There is little crossover between Christian academia and secular academia, popular Asian American Christian books and our churches making it very difficult to learn from one another and previous generations. This prevents us from accumulating knowledge and building upon it to strengthen all our ministries.
- Every Christian, every group, every generation is called to incarnate the Gospel—and this is what these ministries do! As our societies, local communities and churches are naturally organized around these lines, so too do we Asian American Christians have ministries organized around age (for example, children’s ministries), phases in life (mother’s ministries), generation (young adult ministries), and interests (sports, business). We naturally associate with others who are like us, and our ministries thrive communicating the Gospel to people with shared life experiences, pop culture references and jargon. Ministries that fit our schedules, understand and meet our circumstances flourish; they help us meet Christ!
- Affinity groups support one another and think through specific needs for the benefit of us all! Groups like pastors and doctors get together on a regular basis to support their unique needs. Some groups gather for particular purposes—SEAC (Southeast Asian Catalyst) for example encourages and equips young Southeast Asian ministers! If pastors and doctors are being cared for, and their particular concerns are being met, think of how much better than can serve all of us! If young Southeast Asian ministers are being groomed for leadership, think of how much more we can serve God’s greater worldwide church!
- We have similar circumstances and problems! While Asian American Christians are overwhelmingly diverse (see challenge 1), still, many of us share a similar circumstances and problems.
- We’re more likely to “get” one another. Groups above like men’s groups regularly gather because of their common circumstances; there are special issues that only other men would understand, and some men only feel comfortable speaking about these issues with other men. Likewise, there are some problems that only other Asian American Christians would understand, and some Asian American Christians only feel comfortable speaking about these issues with other Asian American Christians.
- We’ll be able to address repeated and systemic problems more effectively. It’s discouraging to see the same problems happen over and over again, from church to church. These common problems point to topics and emphases missing in our training or preaching, and/or they could point to something much more systemic. Repeated generational clashes for example could be addressed with cultural awareness and conflict resolution training and teaching, and ongoing preaching on passages like Psalm 145:4-5. Systemic problems, however, are far more difficult—like how unintentionally, Evangelical systematic theology’s focus on universal propositions has caused Evangelicals to see ethnicity as something with no consequence. Some Asian American Evangelicals thus see their ethnicity as something inconsequential to their lives, and inadvertently (and ironically), in our desire to be faithful Christians, we keep Christ out. We fail to give to Christ our cultural expectations that may or may not glorify him. We fail to think about how God can meet us in our cultural expectations. Such systemic problems require prayer, discernment and coordinated effort; they require knowledge of a variety of disciplines; it requires persistence to share these findings with the greater Church in a variety of ways. Coming together allows us to address common repeated and systemic problems to further God’s Kingdom.
- We’re lumped together; so let’s make the most of it! Whether we like it or not, the US Census calls people from countries as different as Bangladesh, the Phillipines and Japan Asian Americans. We’re grouped together—and sometimes this is not a good thing—but AsianAmericanChristian.org wonders why we can’t also make the most of this, for Christ’s sake? While our overwhelming diversity can make the term “Asian American” seem a bit ridiculous, our greater awareness and love for one another in Christ can redeem it! In Christ, with Christ, through Christ, we can even transform “Asian American” into something that transcends what the world thinks of us. If we were more aware of one another—we’d be able to articulate better our differences and similarities. We’d be better at advocating for the weakest among us, and helping all of us along, and others would see our love for one another, and thus Christ in our love. “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-5)
- God calls us to bless one another with our gifts, so that we can all be more united in Christ. Unity does not mean that we lose our uniqueness; that we become just like one another. “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.” (1 Corinthians 12:12) The body of Christ, his greater church is made up of many people and groups, with a variety of strengths and gifts. Just as immediate families don’t agree about everything (what color to paint the kitchen; what to eat for dinner), likewise, the Body of Christ does not have to agree about every little thing. But rather, God gave us one another so that we can all be mature in Christ. We have not arrived; we are not yet perfect in Christ. We are all still sinners, growing in Christ. It is AsianAmericanChristian.org’s prayer that we’d agree in Christ, we’d forbear one another, we’d pursue reconciliation with one another, and we’d become one.
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers,to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. Ephesians 4:11-16
“In Gospel essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.” -origin disputed
AsianAmericanChristian.org is a proposal for such a ministry to regularly gather and coordinate our ministries.
AsianAmericanChristian.org is a proposal, because we do not presume success.
However, we do think a formal and ongoing organization of Asian American Christians is necessary at some point. Our numbers continue to grow as do our particular needs. Regular, full-time effort is required to coordinate us, share information and catalyze conversation, awareness and change.
As in all of life, Christ needs to be the primary focus of such an organization. Christ is the only thing connecting us, and a thorough Christology will show us how to accept one another, be together and also move forward. Such an organization will need to embrace the full diversity all Asian American Christians past, present and future. It must be an interdisciplinary and multimedia endeavor. It will need to engage with the highest levels of Christian and secular scholarship regarding the Bible, theology, sociology, history, etc and also be able to understand pop cultures and new technological trends. It cannot be authoritarian, but coming along side all Asian American ministries, it must model Christ in humility, grace, truth and accountability. It’s purpose must be more than bringing us together, but it must have a clear missional plan forward; it must know why we’re together—to magnify and share the world, Christ.
AsianAmericanChristian.org is a proposal for such an organization that will 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.
Right now, we’re in a preliminary phase of casting mission and vision. Our hope is to attract resources: finances and people. We are praying for God to bring us volunteers, potential staff, advisors and Board members.
As God provides these resources, AsianAmericanChristian.org will first do its best to get to know pre-existing Asian American ministries. We want to highlight these pioneers and share their efforts. We’ll then invite ministries to talk with one another and in due time, initiate and/or share collaborative efforts.
If God chooses other means to unite Asian American Christians, AsianAmericanChristian.org nevertheless will still aim to bless as many as we can, with the gifts and resources we have. We hope that this website will bless the next efforts forward.
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SUMMER AND FALL 2015
Asian American Ministries
Frames of Reference
7 challenges to
Asian American Ministries
Asian American Ministers,
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