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Growing Healthy Asian American Churches, 6

Discussion questions for Chapter 5 from DJ Chuang:

  • On page 107, the author observes: “The willingness and courage to engage in change requires risk: … trying and failing.. raising hopes.. and then .. becoming disillusioned..” What have you found helpful to overcome resistance to change in a corporate setting like a church?

Resistance to change is present in almost any church, not just Asian-American, but I’ve found that the principles mentioned in the book, Growing Healthy Asian American Churches (GHAAC) are very true and would be helpful to any church facing change. Although I have not seen these things implemented in an Asian American congregation, I have seen them in another church, and they were very powerful in overcoming resistance to change. One of the most powerful experiences I’ve witnessed from the pew is when the pastors and elders of the church all knelt down before the congregation and asked us to seek God’s face with them after the senior pastor had suddenly stepped down. They addressed problems and concerns from the pulpit, which encouraged many of us to seek God and intercede for the church and our body of believers. In fact, whenI was considering on whether to join this church or not, they actually gave me a welcome video that included the pastor telling me the strengths and giftings of other churches that I should consider in the area that could also appeal to me. This type of honesty, clarity, and openness I have yet to see in the Asian American churches I have visited or been a part of. But it is my greatest desire to see God be glorified in this way.

  • On page 109, the author states: “The most important commodity in change dynamics is trust.” What are other important commodities?

See previous answer. Clarity and honesty about what the strengths of the church, pastors, elders, worship leaders, etc. are and learning to leverage that into strengths for the church as a whole. On some level, and perhaps this is my occupation speaking more than my pre-occupation, but most AA churches can’t be all things to all people, so as we look at the hearts and strengths of the leadership, and we look at the ministries around us, we should be honest about how God has engineered the staff to work together in specific ways to bring about a certain group of people to accomplish something particular and unique in that community. This means once AA churches begin to reach a critical point relative to the size of the community, they must begin to refine how their churches differ from one another and what God is doing through their ministry to bless the community and the city, not the other way around, which is to try and be everything to everyone.

  • 7 ingredients for change in a church were synthesized and listed at the end of this chapter: initiation, identification, inquiry, invitation, information, implementation, and influence. Which step(s) take the most time and effort? Would it be overspiritualizing to say that intercession has to undergird the whole process?

I think these 7 ingredients would be present, but to different degrees in different churches for each specific element. I believe that it is absolutely essential that intercession has to undergird the process and that the leadership invites from the very beginning everyone committed to the church to be in prayer regarding change in the church. There should be many nights of fasting, worship, and seeking the Lord before and during the entire process.

With all that said, I believe that the way AA churches react to change can be reflected in the following quote (although the context is a bit different):

Show me a young Conservative and I’ll show you someone with no heart. Show me an old Liberal and I’ll show you someone with no brains. – Winston Churchill

Change is necessary and beats in the heart of young. The youth will always desire to push things a bit, and rightfully they should. The older generation should serve as guides and resources, cheerleaders, and encouragers, but don’t fence them in. It could do more harm than good.

About David Park

Christian 2nd-generation Korean American; Atlanta Georgia; more details to come.

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