March 28, 2009 – ISAAC’s Bay Area Equipping and Resource Center held the first of several workshops to strengthen Asian American church leaders. 49 Chinese, Taiwanese, Burmese, Korean, Indonesian, Filipino, Japanese, and Caucasian participants made the workshop surprisingly diverse. Video and audio tapes of the presentations were recorded and will be made available shortly. We are grateful to the Good Shepherd Christian Church for allowing us to use their wonderful facilities.
Tim Tseng’s presentation provided some recent demographics about the religious identification among Americans, in general, and Asian Americans, specifically. It also shared some recent findings regarding the culture of consumption among Asian American young adults and the emotional health of Asian American teens who regularly attend Asian American churches. The presentation can be viewed and downloaded here:
Host pastors Joseph Chiu and Peter Wang gave very practical suggestions about how both first and second generation church leaders could help make Young Adult Ministries in bilingual and multi-generational churches more effective. Many of the insights shared by both presenters and the participants are applicable not only to bi-cultural congregations, but also to young adults ministries, in general.
ISAAC hopes to make the audio-visual recordings of the presentations available soon. But this workshop is just the beginning of the development of resources for effective Asian American Young Adults ministries. We are starting an email discussion to encourage participants to continue to communicate and encourage each other. The group is called AsianAmYAM. Here are the details:
- Group home page: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/asianamyam
- Group email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos have already been posted at the home page. Please sign up tonight!
We also plan to start a blog where some of our best ideas can be posted.
Keep checking the ISAAC website for updates and new information!
Johnson Chiu, Director, ER Center
Timothy Tseng, Executive Director, ISAAC
Marie McCulley, Registrar
ISAAC is pleased to announce that “The Growth of the Chinese Churches in the Bay Area – 2008 report of the The Bay Area Chinese Churches Research Project, Phase II” will be available this November! This report, edited by Dr. James Chuck and Timothy Tseng, is a follow-up study of Dr. Chuck’s 1996 profile of the Chinese churches in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The report will include an updated profile of Bay Area Chinese churches along with essays that explore the demographics of Chinese Americans in the Bay Area, the history of Chinese Protestantism and Catholicism, reflections on ministry, and essays that highlight issues in Chinese American ministry. Here is the report’s table of contents:
- Chinese American Demographic Change in the San Francisco Bay Area, 1990-2000, by Russell Jeung and Dean Adachi
- The Growth of the Chinese Churches in the Bay Area, by James Chuck
- Report on the church consultations, by Donald Ng
- “Faith, Hope, and Love” – Themes in the History of Chinese Protestantism in the Bay Area, by Timothy Tseng
- A History of Chinese Catholics in San Francisco and the Bay Area, by Ricky Manalo CSP
- Patterns in Development of the English Ministry in a Chinese Church, by Ken Carlson
- Flourishing for More Than 3.8 Years in Ministry, by Johnson Chiu
- From Surgery to Acupuncture: An Alternative Approach to Managing Church Conflict from an Asian American Perspective, by Virstan B.Y. Choy
- The Search for Asian American Worship, by Russell Yee
- Issues in Asian Youth Ministry, by Victor Quon
- Bathsheba Transformed: From Silence to Voice, by Chloe Sun
- Ministry is Like a Marathon, by Steve Quen
Information about how to order the report will be provided on the ISAAC website soon. You can also find out by attending one of the three “Growth of Chinese Churches” half-day research report conferences in November 2008. - Tim Tseng
Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life has just published an important report of their U.S. Religious Landscape Survey. Its findings reveal tremendous religious restlessness among Americans who change religious affiliation frequently. It also demonstrated the growth of an unaffiliated population (atheist, agnostic, secular unaffiliated, and religious unaffiliated), particularly among people under 40 years of age. It also reveals that Protestantism has diminished to 51% of the population share (though evangelicals continue to gain an increasing share of the Protestant population). Catholicism also has not grown, due to the decline of its white population. However, immigration from Mexico, South America, and Asia have drastically reshaped its ethnic composition. Immigration has also impacted evangelicals more than mainline Protestant churches.
What about Asian Americans? The survey confirmed the anecdotal evidence that Asian Americans have a higher affiliation with Christianity than other religions. 45% of the Asians surveyed identified themselves as Christians (17% evangelicals, 17% Catholics, and 9% mainline Protestant). 14% identify as Hindu, 9% Buddhists, 4% Muslim, 3% other world religions or faiths. Among Buddhists, whites out number Asians 53% to 32%. 23% of the Asians surveyed were unaffiliated, the highest percentage of all racial groups.
Among East Asian immigrants, 57% are Christians (27% Catholic, 18% evangelical, 11% mainline Protestant), 14% Buddhist, and 27% unaffiliated. 55% of immigrants from South-Central Asia are Hindu, 16% Christian (9% evangelical, 3% Catholic, 2% mainline Protestant), 12% Muslim, and 11% unaffiliated.
The implications of the survey findings about Asian American religions are clear. Research about Asian American Hindus and Muslims is needed; but so is research in Asian American Christianity. — Tim Tseng