A well-known Chinese evangelical seminary in Los Angeles is going to host a special seminar to address the challenges of 1.5 generation Chinese.
The seminar with theme "The Forgotten Future Stars- 1.5 Generation Grand Gathering: Changing Water into Wine" will be held on Saturday, March 18, at the Evangelical Formosan Church of Los Angeles.
Organized by the Logos Evangelical Seminary, the seminar aims to awake the Chinese churches to realize the double blessings received by the 1.5 generation, who has a unique bilingual and bicultural background. In addition, it will be a gathering for 1.5 generation across different churches to meet each other and help them appreciate their precious gifts from God, according to Dorcas Siah advancement department officer at the Logos Evangelical Seminary.
Dr. Ekron Chen, PhD from Southern Baptist Seminary and the Academic Dean at the Logos Evangelical Seminary, is invited as the main speaker.
1.5 generation is defined as those who immigrate to the U.S. at their teenage with their families or being sent alone for study, thus they are raised in both Chinese and American culture. While they can speak mother language and have a basic knowledge about Chinese culture, they have also adopted the American culture when they receive formal local education. Most of them can speak both English and Chinese fluently.
The second generation, however, tend to be more familiar with American culture. They use English as their first language but can speak some Chinese dialects or Mandarin.
Dorcas commented that as the 1.5 generation has a bilingual and bicultural background, they maybe future leaders of the Chinese churches in North America. The Chinese churches nowadays have a more diverse culture than the era when Chinese immigrants were the major congregation.
Moreover, their cross-cultural exposure has prepared them to become potential missionaries for world mission, Dorcas added.
Nevertheless, according to Dorcas, 1.5 generation generally encounter difficulties in their path of faith and calling. First of all, while they feel hard to be committed to some English-speaking American churches, they are not used to the culture of the Chinese churches founded by Chinese immigrants. However, the Chinese churches are usually insensitive to their needs and they therefore feel being abandoned.
Secondly, as the parents of most 1.5 generation are not Christians, they do not support their children to respond to God’s calling. They expect the 1.5 generation to establish a strong financial and career status in the U.S. just as how they have strived to settle down when they first came to the U.S. as immigrants. Lastly, 1.5 generation often experience identity crisis, doubting whether they are Americans or Chinese.
"In the eyes of God, we can find two similar characters in the Bible - one in the Old Testament, one in the New Testament – to explain the position and commission of 1.5 generation," said Dorcas.
The 1.5 generation is like Joseph, the 11th son of Israel, in the Old Testament. When Joseph was very young, he was forced to leave his home country and live in a stranger’s land without the support of his parents and brothers. He must have experienced so much life hurt. However, because of God’s presence with Joseph, he was able to overcome all the life hurt and received God’s abundant blessings, according to Dorcas.
The 1.5 generation should learn from the unshaken faith and endurance of Joseph in order to fulfill God’s purpose in them.
For the New Testament, the great Apostle Paul is the best to represent the image of the 1.5 generation. Paul was sent to Jerusalem by himself at the age of 13, where he pursued high quality education. He could master a few important languages such as Greek, Hebrew and Latin. Even though he was once a persecutor of Jesus’ disciples, God’s great light of love led to his conversion. He has even become a great apostle for mission among Gentiles.
The 1.5 generation is to be challenged by Paul’s image and use their talents and gifts well for world mission.
Logos Evangelical Seminary was founded by the Evangelical Formosan Church General Assembly (EFCGA) in 1989 with the vision "Attempt great things for God, Rescue millions of souls." In 2001, the Seminary has started the Asian American ministry with an aim to create teams of Asian American Christians who will evangelize and nurture the Asian American community.
While the vast majority of courses offered by Logos are in Mandarin Chinese, they do offer Asian American Ministry courses in English. Since the 1.5 generation students are fluent in both Chinese and English, they may take full advantage of the courses offered by the Asian American Ministry program, which will greatly enhance their ministries.