Emerging from the Chinese Church

“Jumping the gun” in worship

May 27, 2008
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Just a quick thought,

I was going through some of the worship course material I went through at Southern (SBTS) in Louisville and was going over notes from a sermon by Dr. Al Mohler, SB El Presidente himself.  Although I am not sure Mohler is the best authority on engaging culture biblically (I’m sure I’ll get crucified for that remark), I do appreciate some things he brought to my attention in the video sermon.

As a Worship Pastoral Intern at my church, there are many issues I’ve faced in helping our congregation become a worshiping body.  I think more and more I am convinced that the reasons we worship are either unclear or have been forgotten.  I hope that through good teaching, guiding, mentoring and leading there can be a change in that attitude especially in worship.

Dr. Mohler brings up three points I wanted to throw out:

1) We have to see ourselves as sinners

2) We have to see ourselves as sinners (Isaiah: “I am Undone…”) – Ref. Psalm 51

3) A display of redemption (which is a proclamation of the gospel)

Not that these three points sum up what worship is, but it was a big part of what I believe a Christian worldview to be.  I especially like that in the third point, Mohler makes it a point that he sees that in point 3, we JUMP TO QUICKLY to the understanding of the PARDONING of sin before we understand the PURPOSE OF THE PARDONING. I totally agree!  We can’t lose the form and understanding of worship and this worldview.  When we start off with only the notion of redemption and salvation, we slowly let pride creep in and the grace we have received will be taken for granted.

What does that mean for a Chinese Church culture in Toronto?

I think that means as worship leaders in the chinese church in Toronto, we need to recover our understanding of sin and repentance in the worship service.  If necessary, teach once in a while through song, or scripture this worldview.  Sinners in need of a Savior.  Keep at it!  To my Korean brethren “FIGHTING!”


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The Chronicles of Chinese Suburbia: Prayer Meetings

May 23, 2008
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I figure coinciding with CON-PC, I would also post the Chronicles of Chinese Suburbia!  So something that I have been drowning in for the past while has been… Chinese Church Prayer Meetings.

Prayer.  C’mon.  What church does NOT believe in prayer?  I’m sure no self-proclaimed Christian would not say that prayer is ineffective and not worth the time.  Now I could also say that no CHINESE Christian would also say prayer has no purpose or is a waste of time, but now let’s look at the facts:

– I am 99.99999% sure that almost all the prayer meetings in the chinese church are held by their CORE members (deacons, pastors, etc)

– I am also sure that most of the emerging generation does not join these people in their prayer meetings.

– Despite numerous attempts to advertise prayer as an important part of the church or community, numbers dwindle in the chinese church prayer meetings more so than ever.

Ok, these “facts” are not really facts, but you get my drift.  Why is prayer as a community so “uncool”, so “unimportant”, even a deterrant?  I for one, honestly haven’t been to prayer meetings in a while.  I guess I’m a hypocrite on this one, but it’s not because I don’t WANT to pray, it’s because I feel like I want to pray with my community, not just my co-workers or elders in the congregation!

I wonder if this is a common phenomena in the chinese church in that there is a generational rift in terms of feeling “comfortable” praying with each other on a regular basis.  Sure there are fellowship programs or for university students there are campus groups to pray with.  But isn’t there POWER in praying together as the local church body???  Doesn’t bringing our requests and thanksgiving to the Lord in prayer connect us as a community of faith in Christ?  Why is it so hard to pray together as a congregation of diverse generations!!!

First of all, I’ve heard it all, start your own prayer meeting.  That’s a possibility.  But that could undermine the prayer meeting in place already.  Secondly, commit to that prayer meeting already and influence others to come.  I would also ask the question whether this meeting is the best means for the community to connect together (especially if the time is used wisely enough).

Most prayer gatherings (especially chinese) seem to need elements like music-worship or music in the background to get things “rolling”.  I find that sometimes that is distracting from the goal of gathering together to pray!  We come together to pray (and we set aside the time itself), why can’t we JUST PRAY.  It’s like we need a whole “small service” just because it’s a church-wide event!

Anyways, that’s my rant on prayer meetings in the chinese church, here are some thoughts I’ve considered:

– Since we all recognize prayer time as a community does not have to be restricted to the “PRAYER MEETING” time, can’t we be more fluid?  Pray as a group when there are people there together?

– Is it fine to just pray in our small/cell groups or fellowship and be fine with those “prayer meetings”?

– Prayer is integral to our lives and needs to be the lifeblood of our church community, but how important is the “prayer meeting” event itself?  Can we do without it and start something more creative?  What would that look like?

– Should we TRY HARDER to bridge the generations and “cultures” to pray together?  or try to be more accomodating and fluid?

“pray Continually; – 1 Thess 5:17”

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Blogging, worthwhile investment?

May 22, 2008

Since I had the time today, I figured I’d finally put down a thought or two.

Every so often I’ve been contemplating whether to blog my thoughts or not.  I’ve felt for the past while it’s been tough to really put down my thoughts.  Whether this is a good place to share some thoughts about the chinese church and blog some thoughts that will hopefully stir, inspire and motivate those who are sorta in my same position.

Just a question to throw out (I hope I don’t sound like a broken record from my previous blog), is blogging about the chinese church really worthwhile?  Does it help anything?  Is blogging a “postmodern” way to “rally the troops”, to influence people to anything different?  Maybe this question is rhetorical, but does the Spirit causes revival/renewal through blogs and internet web posts?

I guess I’m just trying to find motivation (or an excuse) to blog again.  I have TONS of thoughts everyday about “Emerging from the Chinese Church”… I guess I just need some reasons to stick my neck out to just say it as it is again.  In the next year I will be done my seminary studies and moving on to (hopefully) pastoring.  I am thinking more and more about the future of faith in the next generation next gen asian christians (and beyond).

So again, whatch’all think?

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