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… 😉



  1. “I believe what really happens in history is this: the old man is always wrong; and the young people are always wrong about what is wrong with him. The practical form it takes is this: that, while the old man may stand by some stupid custom, the young man always attacks it with some theory that turns out to be equally stupid.”

    Comment by G. K. Chesterton — January 31, 2007 @ 7:29 pm

  2. Great comment “G.K.” 😉 haha! Giving practical “Orthodoxy” has always been key… lol. Anyways, I’m in agreement only to a certain point… I think I could clarify my intentions as a “young man” is to not to be so bold to attempt change for the sake of some kind of “Reformation”, but for “Refinement” sake. Every generation will come and go, and God will use each to His purpose and calling. I believe mine is to challenge the chinese church status quo and start discussion for better “refinement”. 😀

    Peace and God bless.

    Comment by shubox — February 2, 2007 @ 4:36 pm

  3. wow, we haven’t seen you for a while and you are sounding like.. you are wearing this big huge tall hat! Titles… (mega)? church… wow, shu ling.. I hope you are not lost in your hat too much.
    don’t you think we already have enough of these “comments” about how “chinese” churches are not doing well enough…

    Comment by foo — February 6, 2007 @ 2:24 pm

  4. A huge tall hat? I don’t understand, but I’m writing this blog in a way to facilitate a common interest for discussion to come about for change… and if you haven’t quite understood, I AM chinese. I do feel the need to express myself in some way for the betterment of the church. I can sometimes be critical of the chinese church, but I can also talk about the strengths of having a ministry of the gospel being spread to the chinese culture. ESPECIALLY the 2nd generation chinese christian culture.

    So in short, I don’t think I’m lost in my “huge tall hat”. I don’t think being in a “mega church” is “better” than being in a smaller church. But I do think the problems become more magnified in a bigger church.

    It’s the same for being in a “smaller church”, do you think you have been lost in small, tiny hat? Only concerned with your own things?

    I think the issue of being critical is one thing, what I really want to do is open up dialogue with others about being the body of Christ. I know you believe it’s all simple and laid out, but I would rather converse and speak through an outlet such as this blog and get my thoughts out.

    Comment by shubox — February 7, 2007 @ 8:48 pm

  5. it’s funny, you sound just like your brother, i guess you both do live in one same room, or read the same books.
    and another thing that is funny we dont’ hear from you ever, or never, only at times like this.
    And i am not lost in my according to you “tiny hat”.

    Have you experience life?

    Comment by annfoo — February 8, 2007 @ 2:46 am

  6. I know it as a fact that one can be a gifted preacher — repeatedly told that one is the best preacher they’ve ever heard, etc. — with high theological and academic credentials, experience as a missionary and published writer, experience having lived in a Chinese society for years, married to a Chinese wife, etc. and be rejected by one “Chinese church” after another. I’ve seen it. They have weak preaching and worship because Biblically there is no such thing as a “Chinese church”.

    Comment by John — March 15, 2007 @ 10:15 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: