GLEN ALLEN, Va. (BP) – When pastor Michael Wu first arrived at the SBC of Virginia Annual Homecoming last November, he felt alone.
Wu is the bi-vocational pastor of Roanoke Chinese Fellowship. Although he knew a couple of fellow Chinese pastors around the state, he said he had struggled to connect with Chinese pastors since planting the church in 2008.
Wu said it was also hard for him to connect with other Chinese pastors at the 2021 SBC Annual Meeting because it was such a large event. He wondered if he would have the same feeling a couple months later at the SBCV homecoming.
Initially, he thought he might be the only Chinese pastor at the homecoming, but that quickly changed.
Just a few minutes after Wu and his wife walked into the doors at the annual homecoming, another Chinese pastor, Dexu “Andrew” Yuan overheard the couple speaking Mandarin and introduced himself.
Yuan is the pastor and church planter of Agape Chinese Christian Church in Fairfax Station, Va. The pair spent the rest of the day talking and attending breakout sessions.
“It was by God’s grace that all this happened right as we arrived,” Wu said.
Matt Gregory, people groups strategist for the SBCV, saw the two talking and wanted to find a way to connect them beyond the week of homecoming.
The three held a zoom meeting in January, where they talked about how to better connect and minster to Chinese pastors and churches around the SBCV. The group decided to start a monthly zoom call for times of prayer and encouragement.
Wu and Yuan began inviting a couple of ministers to join the meetings, and Gregory invited even more pastors neither of them knew.
Currently there are close to 15 different Chinese-majority congregations represented on the zoom calls.
Though it took some time, Gregory says the meetings are now times of great community and encouragement.
“I told them I ‘want this to be your fellowship,’” he told Baptist Press. “We want them to become a family inside of the SBCV family.
“They have unique and similar issues that they face as Chinese pastors, and it great for them to share ideas and encouragement. There has gradually been this warmness and comfortableness that has developed among them.”
Although there is not an official title or name for this fellowship of Chinese ministers, Gregory said there could be something more official down the line as the group grows.
The SBCV hosted an in-person gathering in July for some of the Chinese pastors and their wives at the SBCV headquarters in Glen Allen, Va.
It was the first time many of the pastors had met each other in-person, and the SBCV covered much of their costs for the visit.