Last weekend, I attended the ISSAC Bay area Chinese churches consultation. This was the third of four consultation meetings that Dr. James Chuck and his research team have hosted in order to have live discussions with as many ethnic Chinese churches in the San Francisco Bay area as possible. This research project will update the data in the 1996 report about San Francisco area Chinese churches. When this research is done and the report is published in Fall 2008, it will provide helpful quantitative data of churches that are ministering Chinese Americans. For example, between 1955 to 1996, the number of Chinese Protestant congregations in the five Bay Area counties grew from 15 to 158!
While at the consultation, the organizers were kind enough to give me an opportunity to make a lunch-time presentation titled “Churches reaching next generation Asian Americans.” I also made the same presentation twice at Bay Area Chinese Bible Church. The Powerpoint slides may be viewed online, and the audio from the 3rd of 3 sessions is also online.
Bay Area Chinese Bible Church is a
50-year old church that’s made a difficult change 8 years ago– moving
away from a fundamentalist model to a purpose-driven approach. The church now has 8 different worship venues at 2 campus locations, with an average weekend worship attendance of about 1,000. Worship venues cover a wide range of different worship music styles, different languages (English, Cantonese, and Mandarin), and different environments. They’re even using video for the Sunday Bible teaching/ preaching at one of the venues.
When I first walked onto their brand new Alameda campus, I felt it was a very inviting place for the unchurched. There wasn’t a churchy feel to the building at all, because the building is a school campus! In fact, both of their church campuses meet on their school campuses. A big part of their ministry to the community is their Chinese Christian Schools,
one for K-8 and the other K-12. This school has accomplished this
notable feat: 100% of its high school graduates go to college. (The
national average was 55.7% in 2004.) And, this cooperative synergy between the school and the church certainly makes good use of the real estate every day of the week.
encouraging to see how this church is creatively reaching more people
— DJ Chuang, Director of Digital Initiatives + Asian American Life Stage Leadership Community