The around 40,000 Chinese restaurants in North America will become a great harvest field of evangelism, a leading U.S.-based international Chinese Christian ministry anticipates.
Chinese Christian Herald Crusade (CCHC) is a forerunner of restaurant gospel ministry in North America. In the past few decades, Chinese immigrants to the U.S. have diligently set up their foundation on this land by working or running own business. One of the most common forms of business is running a restaurant. The trend is not only observed in the U.S., but also in Europe.
Back in 1995, restaurant gospel ministry in the U.S. has first started after the current chairperson of the CCHC Restaurant Workers Ministry Crusades Esther Lou, joined a short-term mission trip to Europe, where she received the vision of evangelizing the massive Chinese grassroots community working in restaurants. In Europe, almost all Chinese immigrants earn a living by engaging in catering services.
At the beginning, Lou organized restaurant workers fellowship at local churches. In June 2002, CCHC cooperated with Lou to formally set up the Restaurant Workers Ministry Crusades under the banner of CCHC. In January 2005, the first newspaper "Delicious Life" for CCHC restaurant gospel ministry was published and distributed to Chinese restaurants in many cities for free.
Jade Hu, one of the ministers of the CCHC Restaurant Workers Ministry Crusades, explained the urgency of setting up specific Christian ministry for restaurant workers, "The Chinese churches have already begun realizing the demand of spiritual guidance for these restaurant workers some 30 years ago. However, the setting of Chinese churches may not be able to satisfy their needs due to differences in culture and lifestyle."
Most of the workers in restaurant businesses have low income, low education level and low social status. They often feel inferior in Chinese churches, which are more focus on intellectuals. The sermons in Chinese churches are also sometimes irrelevant to their lives and experiences.
"It is truly the grace of God that we can serve these restaurant workers with the special restaurant gospel ministry," said Hu.
Currently, CCHC Restaurant Workers Ministry Crusades actively organizes training, publishes media resources for evangelism and prepares the printing of newspapers for evangelistic purpose. In terms of training, Hu stressed on the goal of CCHC to achieve so-called "indigenous leadership."
"People out of the restaurant business cannot understand the need of restaurant workers very well, so we will try our best to train and mobilize people working in restaurants to lead the ministry," said Hu.
Hu added that the personal testimony of Lou and her husband, who are both working in restaurant, is recorded as a 20-minute DVD. And the DVD appears to be a very effective tool in evangelism.
In 2006, CCHC has launched several new strategies to spread the Gospel to restaurant workers. It is also one of the partners of CCCOWE USA to organize the upcoming restaurant gospel ministry conference held on March 21-29 in Peru.