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Daniel Yang: How People on the Margins Can Help Save the American Church

“Some of the narratives that I’ve learned as an American aren’t intrinsic to my heritage. So I don’t always understand the idea that there are less and less people going to church than there were before, because my family is only one generation into knowing Jesus. And so I think for me, I’ve had to learn a lot about the American narrative and the way that we think about mission and church.”

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“Now I’m realizing that given my background, I’m having to reflect back to the American church some of the things that I’ve learned, and it’s kind of like a mirror being held up. It’s like there’s some great things about it, but there’s probably some things about it that could change.”

“How do we create a pathway forward for the next few years? Part of that is coming back to, how are young people processing American Christianity and evangelicalism right now?…We do know from the pollsters that there are less young people affiliating with American Christianity.”

“We’re not saying the global church is perfect. We’re not saying the church in Africa or in India or Latin America is perfect. But there’s something about the churches around the world that hold up a mirror for American Christianity to see into it and reflect back to itself.”

“These are some voices that we need to bring into our churches and not just into our institutions, but into Christian leadership. How do I allow the global church to actually impact me? How do I allow some of my immigrant neighbors to actually impact the way that I live out my faith? How do I allow ancient voices that have gone through similar things, but even more complex things, how have they paved the pathway for us?”

“This is not just like a white savior thing. It’s more of a national, it’s an American thing.”

“As an American, as an Asian American, I can possibly carry a posture into non-American spaces and almost be prescriptive about how to be a Christian, how to do religion, how to engage in society. And that’s a framework that unless you step outside of it, you really don’t get to see it.”

“I was able to see that having lived in Canada, there is an Americanness about me that I was blind to because I just grew up here.”

“How do you interact with the immigrant congregations in your neighborhood?…Are there condescending attitudes that sometimes we bring to our immigrant sisters and brothers of the faith?

“If you’re a church leader specifically, and especially if you value multi-ethnicity and diversity, one of the big challenges is that you’re probably only as diverse as the people that come in and out of your home.”

“I would really advocate for church leaders to find those who come from different parts of the world that are in their city and actually build those relationships at a real deep level.”

“Let’s say you pastor a church and you’re engaged in a different part of the world…what’s the effective ministry that’s already happening there that we can come alongside and not direct, but just provide the right kinds of help in a way that doesn’t detract from the local leadership there?”

Mentioned in the Show

Inalienable: How Marginalized Kingdom Voices Can Help Save the American Church” by Daniel Yang, Eric Costanzo, and Michale Soerens

Michael Crawford
New Churches

Bob Roberts, Jr.
Ken Gnanakan and Acts Group
Kwame Bediako
Lesslie Newbigin
Robert Chao Romero

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Jessica is a content editor for ChurchLeaders.com and the producer of The Stetzer ChurchLeaders Podcast. She has always had a passion for the written word and has been writing professionally for the past five years. When Jessica isn't writing, she enjoys West Coast Swing dancing, reading, and spending time with her friends and family.