In the 2022 Chinese Missionary Mobilization Conference to commemorate Lottie Moon, a ministry leader proposed that in the face of the loss of youth in the North American Chinese churches, the family should repent first, rather than the church.
The "2022 Chinese Missionary Mobilization Conference - Commemorating the 110th Anniversary of Lottie Moon's Martyrdom in China'' was held online on September 22-24. The conference was co-hosted by the BRC American Bethel Center, the Chicago Chinese Servant Leadership Center, and the Global Servant Leadership Renewal Platform, and co-organized by the Dubai Chinese Business Fellowship and the Led Road Luoshang Platform.
Mr. Dr. Yeou-cherng Bor, executive director of Ambassadors for Christ, an American Chinese Christian Ministry to reach Chinese intellectuals, was invited to give a lecture to share how Chinese churches should conduct intergenerational inheritance and missionary activities under COVID-19 on the third day of the conference. Renowned Baptist missionary Lottie Moon was an early member of the First Baptist Church of the Southern Baptist Convention, in which Bor gathers and is a deacon now.
Other well-known overseas Chinese scholars and pastors were invited as speakers, including Dr. Joshua Ting, former general secretary of the Chinese Coordination Centre of World Evangelism (CCCOWE), Professor Lin Zhiping, former dean of the College of Humanities and Education at Chung Yuan Christian University in Taiwan, and Dr. Evan Liu, pastor of Chicago Golden Light Chinese Church and doctor of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School at Chicago.
Quoting the saying "the church exists by mission just as fire exists by burning” by Emil Brunner, Bor pointed out that it was Christians’ duty to be sent to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on Christians, greatly hindering missions. As well as focusing on the 10/40 window (a challenging region in which predominant religions are Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism), Mr. Bor highlighted that the Chinese church should pay attention to immigrants who moved to the United Kingdom, Australia, and other places due to the epidemic and famine.
He also talked about the development of Chinese churches in the United States from a brief history of Chinese immigrants in the United States.
In 1850, Chinese laborers came to the United States to participate in the construction of railways and farms. Then 100 years later, a large number of students from Hong Kong and Taiwan came to study in the United States. In 1960, there were many Bible study groups and fellowships on American campuses. As Chinese students settled and worked in the United States, many Bible study classes were transformed into Chinese churches after ten years.
According to statistics, from the 1980s to 2018, the number of first-generation Chinese people in the United States increased from 384,000 to 2.455 million. From 2014 to 2018, mainland Chinese immigrants were mainly distributed in Boston, New York, Southern California, San Francisco, and Chicago. Chinese churches should care for the Chinese diaspora around them and share the gospel with them, he added.
The leader of Ambassadors of Christ also mentioned a big problem which was the loss of the young generation in the Chinese churches in North America. Facing an increasingly secularized American society, some predicted that the number of Christians in the country was expected to decrease to 35 percent in 50 years. So, some people raised the question: will Christianity be wiped out after the next generation?
But Bor stated, “God has never lost any generation, as the authority of hell can not overcome him if we are willing to build a true church."
In order to illustrate his point of view, he also gave a specific example to illustrate.
He explained, "To grow stem cells, we need to put in feeder cells which can secrete growth hormones and nutrients to cause stem cells to differentiate slowly. Our next generation is like a heavenly stem cell, which will slowly differentiate and form the body of the Lord, attaining the measure of the fullness of Christ."
Mr. Bor said that many people might feel as if the next generation must become greater than them during their communication with them, but they seldom thought about what kind of "growth hormone" and "nutrient" they should give to help their children to grow into the fullness of Christ.
He concluded that in the face of the loss of youth in the North American Chinese churches, the family should repent first, rather than the church, as they were the first person responsible for their children’s faith.
- Translated by Abigail Wu