An annual mission conference held at a 100-year old Chinese church in Bay Area has moved the hearts of the congregations to participate in world mission.
The Chinese Independent Baptist Church (CIBC) in Oakland, California, has invited the senior pastor of the Cumberland Presbyterian Chinese Church Rev. Lawrence Fung as the main speaker of the conference. The conference held over the last weekend has drawn a total of 600 members in the church, with 200 and 400 attendants on Friday evening and Sunday Service respectively.
Conducted in Cantonese, the mission conference is an annual event where church members come together, seeking to please the will of God and to share the joy in co-working with God to save souls in the aspect of missions. The English Pastors and the Mission committee also organize mission Sundays for the English congregation.
The Cantonese assistant pastor Evans Kwok offered thanksgiving to God for the success of the event. He was also very grateful for the support of Rev Fung and the congregations in prayers.
According to Kwok, through the conference, church members were able to expand their horizon in terms of missions. Rather than just focusing on local mission, they have learnt about the situation of world mission and they are encouraged to reach out to the unreached.
Kwok shared the most impressive part of Rev. Fung’s lecture on Acts 1: 8. Rev. Fung urged the congregation to wait patiently for God’s calling, to be sensitive to the calling and guidance of the Holy Spirit, and finally to breakthrough the comfortable lifestyle and respond Him with actions.
On Sunday, Rev Fung concluded the mission conference with a call to mission from the altar. 20 members of the congregation have committed themselves to do mission as soon as they receive a calling, Kwok reported.
When asked how CIBC mobilizes its congregation to engage in domestic evangelism, Kwok explained about the Evangelism & Discipleship Ministry of CIBC. Evangelism Explosion III - EE founded by Dr. D. James Kennedy has been used as a standard training program for church members who are interested in evangelism. CIBC also set dates throughout the year for street evangelism and visiting old people’s homes. All church members are welcomed to join these activities.
For overseas missions, some church members have participated in some short-term mission trips of other mission organizations. Some Chinese-speaking members have been to Macau while other English-speaking members went down to South America to serve in Mexico and some Indian regions.
A series of events related to missions will be held throughout the year after this annual mission conference. One of the highlights is Oakland Chinatown StreetFest on Aug. 26-27; booths will be set up to promote the church. The church is also planning to host a Mission Sunday in September to highlight the theme. Kwok added that through offering English classes to new immigrants and tutoring to students, the church is also able to reach out to the wider community with the Gospel.
Currently, CIBC has around 350 Cantonese-speaking adult members. For the English-speaking congregation, there are 200 adults plus another 100 youth and children. CIBC will be celebrating its 100th anniversary in February. A thanksgiving service set on Feb. 26 will kick-off the year-long celebration.