NEEDS of the next generation, part 3

January 18, 2007

David Park of NextGenerAsianChurch.com also responds to the NEEDS article from Peter Nguyen. Please add your comment below in response. Also, join the NextGenerAsianChurch.com skypecast this Sunday, January 21st, at 9:00pm Eastern / 6:00pm Pacific (a skypecast is a like a free conference call, but you use the free Skype software to dial in.) The topic will be: “Is the Asian American church — necessary, optional, or simply an unhealthy diversion?”

David’s response to the NEEDS article is posted below with permission:

re: NECESSARY MEANS

A key assumption is that they would be willing and capable of doing so, that is, preserving and documenting their resources. In my experience, this has often not been the case. The target audiences are completely different and at times, mutually exclusive, which means that there is an ongoing debate about where and to what ends collected monies should go. Here economic forces tend to favor the established FirstGen and not the second. While I agree that your solution would be great under ideal circumstances, there simply is not much incentive for the FirstGen to do accordingly.

re: ELIMINATE ANY INSECURITIES

Tall order here – “FirstGen needs to unlearn insecurity…” Many of the FirstGen come out of the shadows of war, poverty, and disease. Material success, opportunity, and security are some of the values that they deem as God’s blessings. Perhaps the onus is on the NextGen to demonstrate that God’s blessings are precisely what empower us to challenge conventional prosperity-minded theology.

re: ENCOURAGEMENT TO SERVE

I’m so glad you point this out. In a recent conversation that included Peter and Jamie Ong, DJ Chuang, Anna Lee, and Ho-tay Ma, it wasn’t so much that the FirstGen did not ask the NextGen to serve, it was how they asked us to serve. It was service to their ends, to fill their gaps and needs, not to mentor the NextGen or to engage the NextGen’s input. In other words, there was much demanded of the NextGen in service to the FirstGen, but not to build the NextGen Church, rather it was to meet the needs of the FirstGen. Then, to add nuance to your solution, it’s not merely the call to leadership that the FirstGen needs to make to the NextGen, it includes the ways in which that call takes place.

re: DISCIPLE THE NEXT GENERATION

You bring up a great and extremely valid point here Peter. However, again, I think that economics drive the FirstGen’s priorities. There needs to be these resources, but the truth of the matter is that someone needs to employ and invest substantial amounts of capital to execute these types of ministries with no hope of recompense. The priority that tends to win out is attracting more immigrants, not more NextGen.

re: SHOW GENEROSITY

Again, while I agree with you here, the NextGen church is extremely fragmented. We need to work to build solidarity across denominations, socio-economic boundaries, and ethnicity so that when you speak about the NextGen church, you will be talking about some entity with a common denominator. While you are right to point out that common denominator should already be Christ, he is not and we have not submitted our cultures to him enough for this to possible

* If you find it easier to read the original paper and this response interspersed, you may view it online and/or print it out.

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