Chinese fellowship plans 800 new churches
PHOENIX (BP)--Pastors and deacons from Chinese churches across the United States and Canada discussed a goal of planting 800 Chinese churches by 2020 during a June 14 meeting in Phoenix.
The Chinese Baptist Fellowship, which recently celebrated its 30th anniversary, has 260 member churches, said Peter Leong, president and interim executive director of the fellowship.
"If every state planted one church a year, then we can do it," said Leong, who has served 23 years as pastor of Southwest Chinese Baptist Church in Houston.
"I know this is a very big and difficult challenge, but we are relying on prayer," Leong told two dozen leaders in attendance, including several state convention and North American and International mission board staff members.
"God has all the personnel and resources. And the best part is that we have a very good friend in the North American Mission Board and the International Mission Board," Leong said.
Leong noted that the effort coincides with NAMB's new strategy, Send North America, which focuses on mobilizing missionaries and churches to plant churches across the United States and Canada.
Jeremy Sin, the North American Mission Board's multiethnic team coordinator for Asian people groups, noted that the Chinese population in North America has increased dramatically. In 1980, there were 1 million Chinese in the U.S., compared to the 4 million who now reside within the U.S.
Prior to 1985, most Chinese immigrated from Hong Kong and Taiwan. Now, most come from mainland China, Sin noted.
Church-planter Arnold Wong, who ministers among the Chinese in Canada, asked participants to send mission teams from their churches to assist in outreach.
Jon Sapp, evangelism director for the Kansas-Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists, attended the gathering because of his interest in the growing number of ethnic groups in the Midwest.
Sapp, who also is responsible for the convention's collegiate ministry, indicated a desire to support a house-church movement among internationals on college campuses.
To help facilitate the new church growth, the Chinese fellowship plans to conduct church-planting seminars in Chicago; Dallas/Fort Worth; Edison, N.J.; Honolulu; Houston; Los Angeles; New York City; and Oklahoma City.
The fellowship, which also seeks to assist Chinese churches with pastoral care, women's ministry and second-generation ministry, will hold its next meeting in September 2012 at the First Chinese Baptist Church of Los Angeles.
Shannon Baker is a national correspondent for BaptistLIFE, newsjournal of the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware. To learn more about the Chinese Baptist Fellowship, visit www.cbfusacanada.org.