In the light of the growing English congregation in the Chinese church, the mix of first generation and second generation Chinese has created a new momentum for world mission.
In the recent publication from Chinese Coordination Center of World Evangelization (CCCOWE), intergenerational joint mission was featured. Despite the fact that many Chinese churches are troubled by the rift between the older Chinese-speaking and the younger English-speaking leaders, a harmonic cooperation and a mission-centered leadership are believed to transform the situation, according to the English Pastor of Greater Phoenix Chinese Christian Church (GPCCC) in the U.S.A. Rev. Derek Quan.
Quan highlighted the importance of mutual respect shown by both congregations' leaders in GPCCC. Some of the very concrete examples are cited by Quan. While language is a very obvious obstacle, all the board meetings are conducted in English even overseas-born dominated the leadership in the church. All documents and signage around the church are also bilingual.
"Even though in 1993 there were only fifty in the English congregation who were mostly youth, the Mandarin leadership specifically called me to be the English, not the Youth Pastor, with the belief that the future of the church would be in the hands of the American-born," he said.
On the other hand, the younger generation strives to work within the parameters of a Chinese church ethos, desiring to be culturally sensitive and respectful to the older generation. Such mutual respect, according to Quan, has led to a balanced focus of outreach to different groups.
With a mission-centered leadership in the Church, the English and Chinese congregations participate together in outreach and missions, instead of going independently based on different languages, agendas and cultural biases.
According to Quan, most churches have specific ways to outreach a particular congregation. In GPCCC, a vast number of missions and outreach opportunities are done through inter-participation where members of both congregations are involved in the same ministry.
In terms of training, Worldwide Perspectives Course and CPR (Cultivate, Plant and Reap) Evangelistic Training are offered in many languages with the same materials. As a result, some leaders of English ministry are nurtured to take leadership positions in the originally Chinese-speaking dominated Board of Missions.
"Our desire is that every member of our church will participate in some short-term missions so that his/her vision will be enlarged for the world," Quan suggested. The Church has always tried to send short-term mission team comprised primarily of English youth, English young adults, and Chinese adults.
Even in relief work effort, the Church has launched projects not for a specific congregation, but rather, both congregations coming together and working to bring aid to the world.
In conclusion, Quan said, "…the 19th century was dominated by the British and the 20th century by the United States; the 21st century, however, belongs to the Chinese. For the Chinese Christian church to make an impact in a Chinese dominated world, we must work together to fulfill Christ's mandate to make disciples in all the world."
Quan encouraged all bi-cultural Chinese churches to show mutual respect to both Chinese and English congregation inwardly; to work together to be salt and light of the lost world outwardly.