During the four day conference, Sixth Annual North America Mainland Chinese Ministry Conference, held from Nov. 24 to Nov. 27, Dun Li, chairman of North America Chinese Mission and senior pastor of Los Angeles First Evangelical Church, Boli Zhang, director of the North America Chinese Mission (East America) and senior pastor of Harvest Chinese Christian Church, Xiao'an Zhou, Amazing Grace Christian Fellowship of Vancouver, and Li Zhao, True Word Training Center, and Ping'an Zhu, who teaches bible and ministers at Albuquerque Chinese Christian Church missionary leader, answered the questions that the participants brought up during the "Church Building Study and Experiences" seminar:
Q. Can you introduce the vision of North America Mainland Chinese Mission?
Dun Li: What did you establish the mission? What did you do? Basically, it is to help the development of North America Chinese churches, equipping the North America believers, helping them do missions, so they can do evangelize and minister.
Besides, when we see the work that the Holy Spirit is doing in Mainland China, it also helps us unite together. We have to let go of ourselves and change the way how Chinese churches always fight alone. We hope that the NAMCM can help the Chinese churches become a testimony of unity.
Xiao'an Zhou: God gave Chinese churches a commission, but it can only be fulfilled when churches become "one". This is not something one church or one individual can accomplish.
Ping'an Zhu: The previous two pastors spoke about the problems of networking and unity. In reality, we really wish to make the network with the China ministries within the boundary of our abilities. Western church ministries have very strong focus but they have other weaknesses, and this would need Eastern churches to fill up this insufficiency. It is really necessary for our ministries to unite together when dealing a field as big as China. It doesn't matter if it is education, praise or business ministries, the ministries should be all united together.
Q. What is the problem that gave you the most head ache as you are ministering?
Li Zhao: It is when I feel I am really insufficient and limited. Especially during the time when I pastor, God always let me see my insufficiencies much more deeply, but this is also where I can slowly experience the pain that the Lord suffering upon the cross. I am really thankful that there is a group of people who can also walk this kind of path.
Q. In North America, there are many passionate Chinese brothers from mainland who are in Hong Kong churches, Taiwan churches, especially in Taiwan churches. When faced with this kind of church, how would NAMCM have the relationships with them?
Dun Li: The China ministry that NAMCM is referring to isn't solely mainland churches. As long as that church has mainland Chinese or China ministry, we will also connect with them. Why do we do China ministry? It is to better proclaim the gospel, and bring the gospel to the ends of the earth. Many of our co-workers are from Taiwan and Hong Kong, but they also have this passion to do China ministries. In order to proclaim the gospel, they participate in China ministry. This is the mentality of the kingdom. We need to view this with a higher mentality. If many people from South East Asia begin to immigrate to United States, then we will do South East Asia ministry. However, according to the recent trend, we will do China ministry.
Q. Currently, around 50% of the believers in the North America churches are from mainland China, and I believe this proportion will be higher in the future. In face of the fast growing number believers from mainland, would there be more complicated problems in the aspect of ministering?
Boli Zhang: The challenge that we face is not the problem of different church groups, but it is the problem of that exists everywhere. Church's biggest problem is lacking in leadership; leadership groups weren¡¦t able to be setup. In the past, we did seminaries, evangelistic trainings, but we found out later that even after training those people still don't want to go to church. Even if they go to church, they won't be willing to go to a church. Thus, we changed the focus of this training conference to leadership training.
Xiao'an Zhou: The key is to do well in Church leadership training, or else even if they receive theological training, it would be very difficult for the minister after graduation.
Q. All of you are pastors of church or church leaders, and [as you know] many mainland Chinese do not respect their own superiors. If there are any conflicting viewpoints with the pastor, they won't follow you well. Then, in this case, how would you deal with this situation?
Boli Zhang: Pastors are people also, so it is unavoidable that there will be difference in opinions. The expectation that the pastor has towards the believer is different from the expectation that the believer has towards the pastor. The pastors and those in leadership position should be active. If a problem arises between you and a member, then you have to actively solve this problem. Pastors need to look at Jesus very strictly, and it is not taking their weaknesses lightly. Besides this, the pastor needs to be able to empathize with the believer, and the believer needs to sympathize with the hardships that the pastor faces.