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9 More Things About Asian American Christianity

6. More Asian Lead Pastors in Multiracial Megachurches.

The prominence of a lead pastor (or senior pastor) shapes the people in the church, the culture of the organization, and so many other aspects of a local church, especially a large-sized megachurch (typically defined as a church with weekly attendance of 2,000 adults and children.) 

While Dr. Korie Edwards has noted, “Multiracial churches tend to mimic white churches in their culture and theology; whites are not comfortable with black church culture or addressing the elephant in the room, race…,” I believe that having an Asian American (or person of color) leading a church has the greatest potential at diversity, equity, and inclusion.

These 5 Asian American lead pastors became successful successors of larger churches:

See the complete list of Asian pastors leading non-Asian megachurches at djchuang.com/asian-pastors-leading-larger-multiethnic-churches (that I will update as I hear of more.)

7. Asian Americans and Christians Are Incredibly Diverse.

A majority of Asian Americans do not readily identify as Asian Americans, but have a much stronger affinity to their ethnic heritage. I myself am Chinese American, which is the largest Asian origin group. 85% of Asian Americans are from one of these six origins: Chinese, Indian, Filipino, Vietnamese, Korean, Japanese. But that means 15% of Asian Americans come from at least 14 other ethnicities from East Asia, Southeast Asia, and South Asia; the Pew Research report only listed the top 20.

Additionally, there’s all kinds of diversity among Asian American Christians: theological, ecclesiastical, denominational, sociopolitical, linguistic, generational, cultural, and even differing worldviews. Did you catch that? There isn’t only one Christian worldview! Plus, the thing about diversity is this: Christianity is not fully-represented by the more visible or vocal perspectives, e.g. evangelical, reformed, fundamentalist, or Catholic. Other perspectives include mainline, pentecostal, charismatic, progressive, missional communities, and more. 

If you’re following along, this leads to the question, “What Unites Asian American Christians,” as posed by Christianity Today’s Quick to Listen podcast. In brief, Asian American Christians have a shared experience of immigration, exclusion, marginalization, while building community both relationally and faithfully. This podcast episode with Jane Hong, associate professor of history at Occidental College, is definitely worth a listen.

8. Beginning to Cultivate More Generosity Strategically.

Asian and Asian American cultures tend to avoid talking about money, though it is very much on everyone’s mind for their survival and social status. Having worked for a private family foundation for a decade during my thirties, I know how challenging it was to find Asian American Christians who would be open to talk about philanthropy and generosity. That’s beginning to change.

Simon Lee started an office supply business that donates 50% of its profit for Kingdom purposes and recently authored, Jesus Is My CEO: 52 Christ-Inspired, Practical Lessons For Entrepreneurs. Others have shared their stories of generosity with Generous Giving, like Tom & Bree Hsieh and Katherine & Eugene Tsay.

Josh Kwan became the President of The Gathering, a learning community of Christian philanthropists.

A group of Asian American Gen Zers launched Generous Generation to promote generosity with stickers, giving campaigns, and creativity!

And, that’s the wonderful thing about generosity. Someone doesn’t have to be independently wealthy to be generous. Truly, it is more blessed to give than to receive. (Acts 20:35)

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djchuang@churchleaders.com'
DJ Chuang works as a freelance digital strategy consultant. DJ authored the book, "MultiAsian.Church: A Future for Asian Americans in a Multiethnic World" and co-hosts the Erasing Shame podcast. Connect with DJ at his website: djchuang.com or on Twitter @djchuang.