PHOENIX, AZ (BP) – Church planting drew the spotlight of the Chinese Baptist Fellowship's June 13 meeting in Phoenix. In fact, the mission of the fellowship is threefold, according to Benny Wong, president of the Chinese Baptist Fellowship of USA and Canada and senior pastor of First Chinese Baptist Church of Los Angeles. The fellowship exists for planting, caring and training. The fellowship's gathering was held in conjunction with the Southern Baptist Convention's annual meeting on June 13-14.
As a fellowship, their goal is to see 600 Chinese church plants by 2020. An International Mission Board worker among East Asian peoples (name not disclosed for security reasons) explained some of the work that his family is doing in East Asia. They work with a people group in East Asia who has a high illiteracy rate. Much of the work his family does is in oral Bible storying and Bible translation. "We want to encourage you to connect through the IMB so that you can go and be a part of reaching out to your brothers and sisters in those countries." he said, explaining that many of those present have family and friends in that area.
Jeremy Sin, a national church planting strategist with the North American Mission Board, brought with him a team of Send City missionaries to share about church planting efforts in Send Cities throughout North America. Chris Wright in Chicago shared that Chicago is filled with immigrants from all nationalities, including Chinese. There are 42,000 Chinese people in the city, he noted. Three years ago there was only one existing Chinese Southern Baptist church in the city, but in the last three years two additional churches were planted. "We're very grateful to have two (more) Chinese planters, but it's simply not enough," he said, noting there are ongoing efforts to reach Chinese in Chicago.
Seattle, Ron Shepard said, has become "the number one destination for mainland, Mandarin Chinese," and that they believe it's "God's time for us in Seattle church planting to focus on reaching the Mandarin Chinese." The city now has a church planter on the east side of the city, a church planter in Chinatown, downtown Seattle, and south of Seattle. "We really need prayer and engaged partners more than we need money. We need prayer partners," Shepard said. "We need encouragers. We need people who understand the unique challenges of immigrants and refugees and those who are ministering cross-culturally," he said. "We believe that God is going to reshape the greater Seattle metro-area with the Asian culture, and that we have a unique opportunity."
Other Send City missionaries, church planters and strategists who shared what God is doing in the Chinese populations in their cities included Joshua Whestine in Minneapolis, Linda Bergquist in San Francisco, Jerico Deveyra in Denver, Ray Woodard in Vancouver, and David Butler in Boston. In addition, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Gateway Baptist Theological Seminary have extended their programs to include Chinese or Chinese/English bilingual programs.
The next meeting of the Chinese Baptist Fellowship will be held in June 2018 in conjunction with the Southern Baptist Convention in Dallas. Their biennial conference will be a cruise in Los Angeles in Sept. 2018.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Myriah Snyder is assistant editor of the Western Recorder (www.westernrecorder.org), newsjournal of the Kentucky Baptist Convention.