Reaching beyond the pews and church doors, First Chinese Baptist Church of San Francisco held their Sunday worship service outdoor on the last day of their 125th anniversary celebration.
10:30 a.m., Oct 9, the service began with drum performances by FCBC drummers. As pastor Don Ng delivered the sermon calling for witnessing beyond the pews, the entire congregation, consisting of English-speaking and Chinese-speaking Chinese, listened out on the streets of Chinatown.
Pastor Ng explained the passage in Deuteronomy 34 where Moses passed down his leadership and vision to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land over to Joshua and the next generation.
"When we are a part of a larger vision, it's usually not up to us to see the end. Our vision of the kingdom of God is from God. It's bigger than anyone of us. While we may retire or die, the vision continues and is carry forward to the next generation. None of us, not even one as strong as Moses, is indispensable."
In 1880, 125 years ago, Dr. Jesse B Hartwell along with nine Christians founded the Chinese Baptist Mission in San Francisco with the vision to evangelize the Chinese people living there, and they converted many through teaching english and the gospel in night classes.
Dr. Hartwell believed that "if the seed of faith was sown there, there would be souls born into the kingdom of God," said Ng in his sermon.
Comparing the passing of leadership from one generation to the next to the passing of a baton in a relay race, Ng stated that the passing of leadership in FCBC of San Francisco is like the passing of leadership in leading the people in the Promised Land from Moses to Joshua.
"The missionaries passed the baton to other missionaries and in time to Chinese pastors and eventually to Dr. Chuck. The relay race continues today. The baton is being passed to you and me."
By standing outside the church and holding service, it allows the congregation to realize their comissions as disciples, and that they must get out of "closed door homes and gated communities and closed churches," said Ng.
After FCBC has been established for 125 years, it has faced much adversities and challenges, but it has persevered till now.
"The forefathers and foremothers of the congregation never got to see the fruits of their labors, but still sowed seeds and maintain the faith in God," said Ng. "We are called to be faithful and not necessarily successful, God
will take what little that we have to offer, he will finish what we started in his own time."
Referring to Acts 1:7, Ng said, "We are still called to be witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea, and Samaria, in San Francisco, in all California and the United States and to the ends of the earth. Since we are not at the end, let us then begin like Joshua in faith to help make this world the Promised Land."