Why fund a ministry that is perceived as irrelevant?

Lack of funding continues this perception of irrelevance

We need to re-think fundraising for Asian American ministers and ministries.

We need to dispel biases that our ministries are not relevant!

What we propose

 

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Why fund a ministry that is perceived as irrelevant?

In challenge 2, we discuss that many ethnic churches, multiethnic ministries, Asian American churches, Asian American second+ generation, seminary-trained Evangelicals, and Asian American ministry alumni think Asian American ministries is irrelevant.  This includes many Asian American Christians and many non-Asian American Christians.

Lack of funding continues this perception of irrelevance

It’s a catch-22: without proper funds, it is difficult to give Asian American Christian issues the thought and effort required to overcome the perception of its irrelevance.  And this perception significantly hinders our fundraising.

Many of the current main voices of Asian American ministries do not focus on Asian American Christian issues full time.  They have careers as pastors, professors, academics, writers, campus ministers, other ministries etc.  If they work full-time hours and are paid, many do so on a part-time salary.   Asian American ministries is a true labor of conviction and love.

Some Asian American ministers would love to focus on Asian American issues full time, but have told us that they cannot do so because they lack funding.  Some hate fundraising, and some have tried and failed to raise funds.

Yet, it is not only worth funding, but worth funding full-time.  

  • What it means to be Asian, American and Christian affects every area of our lives and its issues are vast.

    • Most of us can imagine the issues that need addressing: generational rifts, depression, mental health, spiritual and power abuses, identity, prejudice, etc.

    • A lack of an umbrella organization fails to allow the positive things God’s done to be shared.

  • Full-time workers allow for continuity.

    When Asian American Christianity is not your main focus—essential things tend to fall through the cracks of everyday life: consistent posting, sharing of resources, network-building, keeping up with literature.   Anything you do as a hobby or part-time is secondary or tertiary to your full-time work and family responsibilities.   As a result, much of what’s done is in sputters and starts.   Without more people doing this full time, ministries will continue to re-pioneer over and over, without the advantage of learning from previous ministries—expending significant effort to begin again.

  • Full-time workers allows us to give Asian American Christian issues their fair due.

  • It will allow us to become more necessarily interdisciplinary.  Ministers need to have theoretical knowledge of the Bible, theology, church, US, Asian and world history, as well as a practical knowledge of how to meet various groups where they are at, how to listen and minister, how to create curriculum, etc. It is not possible to do it all, to learn it all; we’ll have to lean on the many parts of the Body of Christ, and a handful of full-time workers focused on this will allow us to share expertise and know-how.

  • It will allow us to focus on unpleasant but necessary topics.

    When you work full-time on a task, you have to do what is hardest.  If you are working part-time, or if you are doing something as a hobby, choosing harder tasks is not always mandatory.  Asian American Christian issues can be immensely complicated, messy and personal.   It can be gut-wretchingly painful to see the abuses, and to pray for discernment on how to best navigate various cultural taboos (challenge 6) to  lovingly in Christ address what you see.  There are many such difficult issues that need to be dealt with for all Asian American Christians to move forward.

  • It will allow for better partnerships and accountability.

    Full-time work gives you more time to prioritize partnerships with other fellow laborers in the Gospel giving you more relational opportunities for accountability.

  • Dearth of overall funding has much farther reaching consequences: for example, the funding for all Asian American Christian ministers and ministries

    AsianAmericanChrsitian.org believes not addressing our what it means to be Asian, American and Christian limits our potential to grow and witness in Christ.  We’ve previously discussed this (here, here, and particularly here), and for the sake of this post, we’ll limit our examples to the area of funding.

    Failure to address what it means to be Asian, American and Christian in light of our funding means that we unnecessarily make it harder for people to accept God’s call into ministry.  Some Asian Americans have vocalized a variation of this:

    If I didn’t have to fundraise, I’d totally be in ministry right now.

    Current Evangelical fundraising models clash with how Asian Americans relate to one another, think of money and gift giving and sometimes how we think of ministry.   Many Asian Americans find some Evangelical fundraising models too direct and aggressive, and not relational enough.

    We need

    We need to re-think fundraising for Asian American ministers and ministries.

    We need to gather pre-existing contextualized work, and take it further, thinking through Asian concepts of gift-giving, relationship, money and ministry. We need to pray to ask God to continue to transform us, and make a way for our ministries.  We need to experiment with fundraising methods that fit Asian Americans and are also thoroughly God-honoring.

    We need to dispel biases that our ministries are not relevant!

    Articulating that our ministries are perceived to be irrelevant goes a long way.   Once this surface is scratched, it makes way for statistical and anecdotal examples.   Most Asian American Christians can understand that Asian American ministries is necessary, if not for him/herself personally, than for others they know.

    What we propose

    AsianAmericanChristian.org has named our best guess at why our ministries are perceived as irrelevant.  We will continue our work to dispel these myths in the short term.

    We, however, do want to to think about the long term, of a day when our ministries are seen as needed and necessary by all parts of the Body of Christ.   We want to be a ministry that comes along side, highlighting the work of what God is doing in all Asian American Christians.   We want to equip these ministries and all Asian American Christians.  To that end, we need to leave the proposal stage of our ministry.  To do so, we’ll need to secure funding to hire staff, to gather able and diverse Board of Directors and advisors, and to continue our listening and gathering work.

    We need to trust God with our own fundraising as well as help others along.  We hope to gather pre-existing models of fundraising; to survey Asian American Christians for their favorite sermons on giving, money and on ministry to better contextualize our fundraising.

    We also want to begin to model ways that will re-think Asian American fundraising to eventually offer up models that fit us better.

    To that end, we’ve partnered with one Asian American minister. This well-respected pioneering veteran has been living on a part-time salary even as God continues to expand his ministry.  We feel privileged to come alongside him to form a “care team” to love him and his supporters.  We plan to share this process of forming a “care team” aloud on our website as the year progresses and hope that this effort would help others brainstorm better ways to care and support our ministers and ministries.

    We’ll do this as we concurrently fundraise ourselves.

     

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    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.

     

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