Why Chinese churches grow

April 14, 2010

These excerpts from a 2008 report on Chinese churches in the San Francisco Bay area provides some reasons for why Chinese churches grow:

… Dr. James Chuck, Director of the Bay Area Chinese Churches Research Project and Senior Consultant for ISAAC … described the growth of the number of Chinese congregations in the Bay Area, from 15 congregations in 1950 to 158 in 1996 …

Reasons given for this growth included the rapid increase of the Chinese population, wider geographical dispersion of Chinese in the Bay Area, Chinese coming from more diverse points of origin, immigrant pastors and their overseas network, the contribution of overseas Chinese students who had been nurtured in Chinese Bible study groups on U. S. campuses, church splits, the planting of new churches, increased involvement by denominations who had not previously worked in Chinese in the Bay Area, and the leadership of some gifted and entrepreneurial leaders, and last but not least the leading and the power of the Holy Spirit.

The Bay Area Chinese Churches Research Project report can be purchased online. And, a April 2008 consultation in San Jose with area church leaders also identified top issues and challenges:

… various issues facing the Chinese churches in the Bay Area … The top priorities in the South Bay are: Spiritual Development and Leader Development. The second tier priorities are: Mission Outreach and Christian Education followed by Church Life.

Spiritual Development and Christian Education appeared also in the San Francisco and East Bay churches. Leader Development and Mission Outreach/Evangelism appeared in all four groups.

The concern for Church Life or Church Health only appeared in the South Bay and Alameda suggesting that in many of the newer churches, there are concerns about generational issues, communication, and church unity.

The churches perhaps older and historic in SF Chinatown and San Francisco expressed the priority of Retention of Members and Replenishment of Members.

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