Emerging from the Chinese Church

The Disenchanting of the Chinese Church EM

January 30, 2007

Wow! A post! I know eh?

Anyways, I have been busy working in my own context at my church as the worship co-ordinator at the local chinese (mega) church and therefore have not put much time to blog. A reason I’m writing this post now is because I’ve realized that I better devote MORE time to writing down these thoughts instead of letting them consume me!

So I think I will start this post as n introduction to those in the local GTA area chinese churches who have become disenchanted with their churches. More and more, I am becoming introduced to Canadian-Born Chinese (CBC’s) here and there who have been struggling at their churches. I’ve realized one of the biggest stumbling block has been a leadership that does not understand the need of the english speaking culture of their church. The usual “speak” that I hear about CBC’s are that they are just too influenced by their western enculturated upbringing and just need to read the bible and listen to their elders and parents. I am probably going out on a bigger generalization than I could’ve, but I find the development of an English Ministry at a Chinese ethnic church has been slowed because so many things have been:


I got to say, the higher ups of these chinese churches do genuinely want to preach the good news to the people, but what do you do with ineffective preachers to another culture? Do you let a CBC who can only preach in english preach to a chinese congregation with broken CBC-ish chinese? HECK NO! So why vice-versa?

Many people say it is because the lack of resources in the chinese church that we can only use the cards we have been dealt with by God. I say that is just a bogus excuse to not try harder to encourage others who are called to preach to the CBC culture and just like SETTLE (referencing the biblical reference spoken at URBANA 06 about Terah just “settling” at Haran instead of going to Canaan). With all the recent talk about developing good lay leadership, I don’t think many Senior leaders of the Chinese church in general see that their lay leaders don’t even get the vision.

Where is the challenge? Where is the learning? Where is the mentoring?

Chinese people are good at realizing we need the best means to be efficient, but they are so terribly weak at being patient and taking time to mentoring. It’s all about respect. I think something that needs to be taken in mind seriously is to preach about the STRENGTHS and the WEAKNESSES of being Chinese in the church while also acknowledging that Christ has come to redeem, yes, even our culture (which is in dire need of redemption).

What can I do? Repent of my pride, pray that generational sins won’t set in, learn from people older than me, inspire and motivate others with the awesome teachings of Jesus in the bible, and just keep being a subversive influence in the Chinese Church.

Remember people, the Chinese Church is not the CHURCH. The prefix “Chinese” does not supersede “Church”. We may have an important ministry towards Chinese immigrants, but that isn’t the sole identity of the church as it has evolved to now.

No wonder so many young Chinese Christians are becoming or have already became disenchanted with the Chinese Church. All they see if a church geared towards one direction, and they are being pulled along for the ride. No wonder there are so many “chinese church shoppers” in Toronto.

By all means I do not think CBC Christians have much of anything down. Lacking in experience, doctrine and humility all the young usually do is “whine and complain” (this is coming from one of them, hehe). But overall, my point is that, there is more and more people becomign disenchanted with the Chinese Church because the challenge of following Jesus has been LOST IN TRANSLATION.

Weak preaching = Weak challenge

No Cultural Engagement = No understanding to that culture

Weak Worship = Unhappy Pappy (Genesis, Cain & Abel)

and etc…

So when will we start discussing some real ways to immediately jumpstart this battery-drained engine? Hopefully I got SOMETHING rolling… 😉



January 3, 2007
1 Comment

Well…  for starters I feel this blog was a long time coming.  As a 2nd Generation Canadian Born Chinese in a Post-Christian society, I have felt a longing to ask questions to the Chinese Church from my vantage point.  Granted, I think I could expand this blog to bringing up issues towards a constructive critique of the ASIAN church culture in general, but I think this is the best start for me.

For starters, I hope writing a constructive critique will be beneficial for the chinese church in Toronto especially, but will hopefully be of aid to anyone else who is reading this and can relate to my context.  What I do not want this blog to become is a long string of whining and complaining.  I think there are enough people who complain passively without acting.  I think we as Christ Followers need to yearn and pray for God’s will in our context and become the redeeming light that Christ calls us to be.

As a sociologist, I find myself in a unique situation to study and evaluate my culture’s behaviours and living patterns and ask the right questions to help us grow to become better disciples.  I’ve found entering dialogue has been a better means of helping the church than just throwing biblical principles for change.  I believe the Bible is our best source for change, don’t get me wrong, but I think we need to read the word together, pray together, and act together.

As this blog evolves, my hope is that I can become more articulate and clear in my thoughts and questions on the chinese church in Toronto (and beyond).  Join me in this conversation if you have time 😉

Posted in Chinese Church