It appears that the prodigals from the Silent Exodus are returning home to the faith.
And yet, from my vantage point, I wonder what happens post-college and singles? What happens when the passions and idealism of college and singles face a new season. Do we have the resources and churches that can take them to the next level in ethnic ministries, especially if groups like InterVarsity and Campus Crusade work hard to create environments that build a new solidarity of ethnic Christianity? Do our churches offer a satisfying palate after having tasted that type of vibrant environment? Or is it likely that churches will domesticate those youthful passions?
In keeping with the metaphor of exodus, I feel as though ethnic churches are headed for a wilderness, a wandering of sorts. And if we’re thoughtful and intentional about it, we’ll develop theological language to frame it – diagnosing it with a Gilgal of sorts (where the Israelites circumcised themselves in waiting to enter the Promised Land).
But that’s a difficult prospect when most of us are just trying to hold the internal tensions of working with the first generation or trying to create a sustainable base of members / attendance to justify / validate / support the ministry. Ethnic churches supporting an English-speaking congregation have to vanillify themselves just to reduce the workload and stay sane. Stick to the programs. Sing the Christian Top 40. Promote relationships. Plan the next “revival” or event. Hold the party line. Pray for deliverance more than wisdom and discernment.
Welcome to the wilderness. Don’t fight it, embrace it. We need it. The post-immigrant church needs to wander. Rediscover daily bread and following the moving pillar and the waiting at the foot of the mountain. We need to learn to dream. I know that Asian American Christians are superstars with the Christian media right now, driving up the numbers for all kinds of campus ministries and new church plants, but this is the beginning my friends, not the arrival.