VANCOUVER – With less than a year away from the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver, Christians in metro-Vancouver / Fraser Valley have been networking diligently to prepare for an integrated Christian outreach to the hundreds of thousands of visitors that are coming to see the games.
Executive committee members of the More Than Gold (MTG), a growing network of denominations, churches, Christian institutions and individuals, urge the participation at every level and from all ethnic communities, in particular the Chinese Christian community, to gather key leaders and discuss how to engage their churches and consider ways to be involved.
As board directors of MTG and Chinese-Canadians, Alan Au, chair of Vancouver Focus and moderator of West Coast Baptist Association, and Rita Fung, president of Shekinah Investments Inc., told The Gospel Herald their reasons of involvement and why the Chinese churches should get involved in this historical opportunity to witness for Jesus Christ.
GH: How did you become a member of the board of directors for More Than Gold and what is your aspiration as director of MTG
Au: I received an invitation in 2004 from Tom Cooper, leader of City In Focus, to attend a briefing meeting on what might local Christians be able to contribute to the world event. I feel strongly that Christians need to recognize a God-raised wave of opportunities. As C.S. Lewis said, "Coincidences are only when God works anonymously." God must have a purpose on bringing this world event to Vancouver. As children of God, how do we respond to His plan? I believe I can help to alert our people in our churches to act in "such a time as this" (Esther 4:14b). I asserted myself to join the Board from day one; and am privileged to work amongst other committed people who also want to contribute and serve.
Fung: It is a very humbling experience for me to have the opportunity to be on MTG board, along with leaders who have earned their recognized titles through years of service in the Kingdom. I delight in knowing that we all carry this vision and acted upon this rare God-given window of opportunity to come together and work in unity, crossing denominational and cultural divide, all for the glory of God. It is truly a blessing to witness the humble servant attitude of all members, as we strategize in unity of heart, allowing Him to lead as the Head. Genesis 11:6- The Lord said, ”if as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, than nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them.” To Him be the glory!
GH: What excites you as a Chinese Canadian Christian to take up such role?
Au: My commitment to the Board is not from an ethnic perspective. However, in a city like Metro Vancouver, we will be remiss if our Board does not represent our city's ethnic mix. In order to truly call out Christians from all backgrounds, we need to reach out to as many as ethnic and denominational groups as practically possible. What excites me is that I see the possibilities of all Christians working together regardless of ethnicities and denominations.
Fung: Instead of seeing myself as a ‘Chinese’‘Canadian’ Christian, which has a subtle effect to label and therefore divide people, I merely see myself as a child of God, one who joyfully accepts and wholeheartedly serve where the good Lord puts me. I’m joyful for this unprecedented opportunity to be serving alongside such a vast diversity of heads of Christian organizations, and to learn and grow together, everyone being kindred spirits, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose.
GH: What is your hope for the involvement of the Chinese Churches in MTG?
Au: The largest Christian group outside of English speaking churches is Chinese. I believe Chinese Christians can rise up and take an active role in mainstream society. Especially when the spirit of Olympics is about all peoples in the whole world working harmoniously together. The Chinese Christians can be an important partner in demonstrating this cooperative spirit to the world when they come. If Vancouver Christians were to work together, the Chinese Christians must lead in this task. MTG provides a channel for the Chinese church to work with and blend into the mainstream Christian involvement and movement.
Fung: I tend to look at it as -What is God’s hope for His people’s involvement with More Than Gold at this once in a lifetime opportunity He gives? Can you hear His calling you to be involved? If so, in what capacity-given your God-given labour and capital resources? Are you willing to share with other children/churches for His Name’s sake?
GH: What do you want to say to the Chinese Christian leaders throughout Canada?
Au: I want to suggest to Chinese Christian leaders to mobilize their people in their churches to rise up and join all other Christians to make a long lasting impact in our city during such a time that God will be sending the world to come to Metro Vancouver. Leaders must lead. We would miss this opportunity to live out our Christianity for the world if we don't act "while we have come to the royal position" (Esther 4:14a). God will honor those who are obedient to His calling. He has called us to be "local" missionaries in this world event. We don't have to go to the world. He has sent the world here.
I would suggest to church leaders across Canada to challenge their church people to show grace and love to the world during the 2010 Event, to share His message to many who have not yet heard the name of Jesus, and to start working with one another in our city in our own regions for many years to come. We must act now.
Fung: Stop seeing ourselves as ‘Chinese’ ‘leaders’. Instead, as sinners saved by His grace, forever indebted to Jesus Christ for His unfailing love for all. As leaders appointed by the good Lord to steward His resources, let us responsibly lead with a servant attitude, daring to come out of your comfort zone, and join this larger Body of Christ. But be prepared that you might serve as the eye or the hand, and not being the head for a change?
May we all grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.