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A Look at Asian American Churches

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  • The 2000 U.S. census recorded 11.9 million people who reported themselves as having either full or partial Asian heritage, 4.2% of the U.S. population. The largest ethnic subgroups are Chinese (2.7M), Filipinos (2.4 million), Asian Indians (1.9M), Vietnamese (1.5M), Koreans (1.2M) , and Japanese (1.1M). Other sizable groups are Cambodians (206,000), Pakistanis (204,000), Laotians (198,000), Hmong (186,000), and Thais (150,000). [18]
  • Photo credit http://flickr.com/photos/99zeros/415407140/
  • The relay race began in 1925. Near-sighted young Japanese Pastor Haruye Shibata boldly accepted the challenge from the Los Angeles Baptist City Mission Society and steamed slowly across the Pacific to the hostile denizen known as Boyle Heights (East LA). Most of us today have never heard of Rev. Shibata, but he was the one the Lord chose to run the first, tough leg of the race. He did not arrive to find a crowd of eager Christians and a spacious building. His first converts were the issei (first generation Japanese-American) pioneers. None of them were wealthy, but they soon learned the joy of sacrificial giving. Boyle Heights Baptist Church eventually became a special gathering place for them and their families. Soon, they would pass the baton. It's now 1938. Because the English-speaking portion of the church was growing, Rev. Jitsuo Morikawa, a young Japanese-Canadian pastor, accepted the call to be their pastor, along with serving J.A. congregations in Terminal Island and in the South Bay. With the burgeoning numbers of English-speaking members, the church was renamed Nisei Baptist Church of Los Angeles. Realizing that the new moniker did not address the third generation (sansei), the members voted in 1949 to change the name again, this time to Evergreen Baptist Church of Los Angeles, a reference to its location on the corner of 2nd and Evergreen. Thus there was still an Evergreen when Cory Ishida accepted the baton from the beleaguered remnant of about 85 faithful who were there in 1977. Although he lacked the seminary pedigree and had never pastored a church before, the members called him to be their shepherd. Ishida was the first sansei to pastor Evergreen. His clearly more acculturated presence soon attracted growing numbers of ABCs (American Born Chinese) to the church, setting the stage for what was to become a new paradigm for this plucky ministry. In 1981, the church called Ken Fong to be its first full-time associate pastor, thus formally embracing the ABCs in the congregation. Evergreen was now something new: an all-English-speaking Asian American church. By 1996, however, the church seemed to some observers to be in "midlife crisis." Attendance was holding steady each week at around 900. There had been some significant turnover of staff. Energy was on the wane and the vision seemed less clear. That year, Rev. Ishida led the membership to make the daring decision to church plant by "hiving" the existing congregation and staff. Thus, on March 1, 1997, he and his staff left with about 650 people to form Evergreen Baptist Church of San Gabriel Valley while Rev. Dr. Ken Fong stayed in Rosemead with the rest.
  • Photo credit http://picasaweb.google.com/odpcec/LorenCunninghamAtODPC
  • http://www.harvest-community.org/mapsdirections/
  • 1. Creative - the dream stage This phase is marked by enthusiasm, hope, and creative ideas which all produce momentum. People who are entrepreneurial are attracted and add to the dream. The dream is so large in people’s minds that it carries them through the struggles that occur at this level. 2. Management - the reality stage At this phase the dream to some degree has been attained and now begins to be managed. It is now time to work out the details, fix what is inefficient, organize resources, and manage personnel. This is a necessary stage, but also a swing stage. What is needed is to keep the dream in the forefront of everyone’s mind. Without it the organization can quickly go from management into the next stage of organizational life. 3. Defensive Justification -the failure stage Here, growth begins to plateau and excitement begins to flatten. The dream is no longer in the front of people’s minds. In its place is questioning and conflict. People are less motivated to serve, give, and be involved. At this phase, leadership often takes a defensive posture. They rush to quickly justify what is happening in hopes that the situation will end soon and not devolve into the final stage. 4. Blaming, the death stage In this final stage, the problems that were once small have taken over everyone’s time and attention. No clear answer has been given for what has happen, no solution is seen, and the dream is long past. Everyone is looking for someone to blame for the organization’s decline. The death stage does not necessarily mean the doors have closed. It simply remains in a state of no life, no growth, no dream; where people just go through the motions of keeping the organization alive.
  • 1. Creative - the dream stage This phase is marked by enthusiasm, hope, and creative ideas which all produce momentum. People who are entrepreneurial are attracted and add to the dream. The dream is so large in people’s minds that it carries them through the struggles that occur at this level. 2. Management - the reality stage At this phase the dream to some degree has been attained and now begins to be managed. It is now time to work out the details, fix what is inefficient, organize resources, and manage personnel. This is a necessary stage, but also a swing stage. What is needed is to keep the dream in the forefront of everyone’s mind. Without it the organization can quickly go from management into the next stage of organizational life. 3. Defensive Justification -the failure stage Here, growth begins to plateau and excitement begins to flatten. The dream is no longer in the front of people’s minds. In its place is questioning and conflict. People are less motivated to serve, give, and be involved. At this phase, leadership often takes a defensive posture. They rush to quickly justify what is happening in hopes that the situation will end soon and not devolve into the final stage. 4. Blaming, the death stage In this final stage, the problems that were once small have taken over everyone’s time and attention. No clear answer has been given for what has happen, no solution is seen, and the dream is long past. Everyone is looking for someone to blame for the organization’s decline. The death stage does not necessarily mean the doors have closed. It simply remains in a state of no life, no growth, no dream; where people just go through the motions of keeping the organization alive.
  • Transcript

    • 1. A Look at Asian American Churches DJ Chuang Executive Director L2 Foundation www.L2Foundation.org
    • 2. L2 Foundation
      • Developing leadership and legacy for Asian Americans
        • bless & empower the next generation
        • connecting leaders for innovation and healthy leadership development
        • mobilizing legacy partners to invest in the next generation
    • 3. 2 print-on-demand books
        • Asian American Youth Ministry
        • Conversations: Asian American Evangelical Theologies in Formation
    • 4. Asian American Christian Reader www.aacreader.com
    • 5. When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red’, and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times . Matthew 16:2-3
    • 6.  
    • 7.  
    • 8.  
    • 9.  
    • 10.  
    • 11. 5% of the US Population is Asian American (July 2004) http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/facts_for_features_special_editions/006587.html
    • 12. 42% Asian Americans born in the USA http://www.asianweek.com/2008/11/18/invisible-minority-more-american-than-first-glance-suggests/
    • 13. 69.7% Asian Americans who speak English “very well” derived from the Census 2000 report "Language Use and English-Speaking Ability" at http://www.census.gov/prod/2003pubs/c2kbr-29.pdf
    • 14. 450M native English speakers around the world From “Why Asians Speak English” http://www.asianweek.com/2008/08/29/why-asians-speak-english/
    • 15. $61,094 Highest median household income of any racial group
    • 16. What ministry opportunities do you see?
    • 17. 15.2M Asian Americans in the US (July 2007)
    • 18. 2000 U.S. Census, cf. wikipedia entry on “Asian American”
    • 19. 56% Asian Americans unchurched http://www.barna.org/FlexPage.aspx?Page=BarnaUpdate&BarnaUpdateID=229
    • 20. 33.4M Asian Americans by 2050 (projected)
    • 21. 49% of Asian Americans are college graduates (age 25 and older)
    • 22. 20% of Asian Americans have graduate degrees (Masters, Ph.D., M.D.)
    • 23. 100+ English-speaking Asian-led churches less than 10 years old
    • 24. Vox Veniae (Austin)
    • 25. some characteristics
        • spirituality
        • creativity
        • inspiring worship
        • social justice
        • leadership
        • excellence
    • 26. Evergreen LA
    • 27. Open Door Presbyterian Church (Herndon, Virginia)
    • 28. Alliance Fellowship Church + Harvest Community Church (Chicago)
    • 29. What other churches Inspire you?
    • 30. Four stages of organizational decline Cf. Mark Driscoll’s Confessions of a Reformission Rev pp.141-144 http://www.encounterthis.com/blog/?p=142
    • 31. window of opportunity
    • 32. time vitality
    • 33. Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved . Matthew 9:17
    • 34. house “ one big happy family” http://www.flickr.com/photos/arnar/402574248/
    • 35. duplex “ two ministries under one roof” http://flickr.com/photos/sidereal/111616256/
    • 36. townhouse “ two churches on one campus” http://www.flickr.com/photos/ohadby/151741368/
    • 37. hotel “ many ministries under one brand” http://www.flickr.com/photos/thomashawk/94025957/
    • 38. multiplex “ multiple venues, one management” http://www.flickr.com/photos/ckyuan/1004839506/
    • 39. Which model works best in your context?
    • 40. Options for English Ministry
        • Co-exist peacefully
        • Small changes over a long time
        • 2 churches 1 campus
        • Launched out as a church plant
        • Church split
        • Move to a new ministry
      Based on discussions from metro DC area English pastors fellowship 2006-2007
    • 41. $50,000 Sarang Community Church’s annual fund for church planting by 2nd Generation Koreans and other minorities http://blog.l2foundation.org/2007/08/29/multiethnic-church-planting-fund/
    • 42. empowering next generation
        • evangelizing in new ways
        • cultivating creativity
        • raising up young leaders
        • restructuring for more effective ministry
        • supporting church planting with prayer, people, and funds
    • 43. How can we keep our children? How can we reach more people?
    • 44. http://flickr.com/photos/jimfrazier/139376081/ http://flickr.com/photos/sadaqah/426291086/
    • 45. these slides + more @ http://blog.L2Foundation.org DJ Chuang L2 Foundation www.L2Foundation.org [email_address] 949-870-5726
    • 46.