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Cultural Evangelism

I only recently understood the concept of “vision”. And in finding a vision for ministry I had a great discussion with a friend who is more philosophically minded. He said that “Chinese churches have an unstated vision/purpose. They are cultural centers where these “refugees” come to get Chinese culture. Is that true of other AA churches?
Evangelism is thus done in a passive way as people are brought in, versus sending people out.

It occurred to me that part of going out involves being friendly to visitors and living with joy at home, church, and work. But that joy must come from  God! Too many though are not living in joy, and thus churches are dying.

Part of that may be due to more programs then true fellowship and true discipleship. One big activity after another. Another person pointed out to me the component parts to the Chinese character for busyness. It is composed of the word death and the “radical” heart. Busyness is literally death to heart. I guess some of our churches have brought into the idea that the more busy you are, the more spiritual.


About William Woo

Bi-vocational minister, living in Austin, Texas.

4 responses to “Cultural Evangelism

  1. mezuzah

    Yikes, usually David reviews these posts but hey, I got posted! Hope alls well. Danny Yang had an interesting post on Francis Chan!

  2. I’m not sure if the blanket statement about lack of vision is fair to all Chinese churches. I felt my previous church, Boston Chinese Evangelical Church, had a great vision and purpose, that the church as a whole (English-speaking, Cantonese-speaking, and Mandarin speaking congregations) worked towards.

    Having said that, there is a lot of truth to what your friend says. I think many churches, not just Chinese churches, have a passive, “let them come to us” approach to evangelism. We’ve gotten caught up in cultures (Chinese culture, churchy culture, and multi-ethnic culture) and have neglected spiritual formation, loving others, and fulfilling the Great Commission.

    It will take a great deal of prayer and mobilization for a church to move towards a vision of embodying the kingdom in this world. But I am hopeful.

  3. haha, you don’t need me to review your posts. that’s what comments are for! 🙂

    you’re absolutely right though. evangelism isn’t and shouldn’t be reduced to a passive act and particularly with a rising post-immigrant generation, unless we offer a different take on how the ethnic community itself engages with scripture, then we cannot assume that we will have the same “draw” that we once did. we don’t do a good job of identity formation, ethnic or spiritual, and thus, it really cripples us in terms of being missional, which is our true calling.

    which, to add to your friend’s insight, an unstated vision is no vision at all.

  4. mezuzah

    Yes Daniel in all fairness, a blanket statement is not fair. Perhaps being in many churches with lack of vision, one thinks all churches have no vision.

    Thanks David, yeah-that is so true, “an unstated vision is no vision at all.”

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