From March 3 through Mar 5, 2005, a gathering of 340 churches was held at the Redwood Chapel Community Church and First Baptist Church in Castro Valley, California. The gathering is the 42nd Annual Bay Area Sunday School Church Worker’s Convention (BASS), where large portions of the attendants are Chinese Americans from the local churches in the Bay Area. This year’s BASS convention enriched and encouraged church workers in their needs within their own ministries or churches and passion to establish the kingdom of God.
BASS Church Worker Convention was established 42 years ago. It is an interdenominational, evangelical, and non-profit mission organization. Up until 5 years ago, the convention was just the BASS Convention. But as it grew much more, the directors wish for it to serve more than just Sunday Schools, so they added Church Workers into its name. The mission of the convention is to equip, train, encourage and inspire professionals and volunteer workers in the body of Christ for Christian ministry.
Currently, BASS consists of over 300 workshops and 65 exhibits. Workshop Title and Speakers
According to Christian VandenHeuvel, General Chairman of BASS, every year around 4000 people would attend the convention, and 60% of the total number of attendants are non-white. Every year, large conferences and conventions would be held in the East Coast, and churches with the financial capability would send their church leaders and workers to receive training and to establish networks.
As for churches without much financial blessings and developing steadily, they cannot afford such expense. Thus, many would be left behind in the Bay Area. To show them that “they are not alone”, the annual BASS Church Worker convention is held.
By providing BASS convention in two, general sessions and workshops, BASS convention covers the need of local churches.
“We wish to provide general session that is like a worship service and the church workers can just come not feeling obligated to do anything, rather they can just come to be here and to receive free training and opportunities to network as workers serving the Lord in the kingdom of God.”
Among the variety of workshops, Louis Lee, general director of Asian American field, directed mainly towards the Chinese Americans, have invited Chinese seminary president, church pastors, and ministry leaders to teach in Cantonese.
Rev. Lawrence Chan, President of Christian Witness Theological Seminary, who lectured on the subjects such as “Does the Sunday School Teacher Need Theological Training?”, and “God’s Story – The Teaching of Old Testament Narratives” commented on the convention as effective and resourceful, its motive is really good, and this an opportunity where problems that needs to be addressed can be discussed and focused on in small groups.
Not only were the directors and speakers able to see the opportunities from BASS, the attendants were also able to receive what they were looking for whether it is for their ministry or his personal spiritual walk with the Lord.
Pastor Samuel Luk from Central Chinese Christian Church said, “This is an annual event good for all Christian workers and Sunday school teachers, and it is really in that they have book exhibits displaying the newest books, so pastors and Sunday school teachers can come to plan out this year’s curriculum. Another relevant point is that it provides a time for people to share, to worship, and to network with other Christian workers.” He said. “They also provided many large workshops that gave variety. People can just plan ahead and come without having any obligations. It is a “win-win situation.”
After purchasing a book at the book exhibit, Betty Lee, a church member of San Francisco Sunset Church said to our reporter.
“I really enjoyed the workshop instructors. In a workshop on raising children, my instructor gave a testimony of her life. It really touched my life.” She said heart-feelingly.
To provide a good experience but for a cheap price, the convention is only charging $100 per church for registration, and everyone attending that church would be able to attend for free.
To find out more information or to plan ahead for next year’s BASS Church Worker’s Convention, please go to www.bassconvention.org.