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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Attitudes of Asian American Christians Towards the Ethnic Churches They Left
by Sohn, Ezra, D.Min., Nyack College, Alliance Theological Seminary, 2017, 131; 10277559
Abstract (Summary)

The author presents the difficulty of retaining younger English-speaking congregants as a ministry problem for Chinese and Korean American churches in New York City. The urgency, in the clarion call of Ken Fong (1990) and Helen Lee (1996), of cultivating healthier churches for second generation Asian Americans remains today. After several decades, the results of all our investment into second-generation Asian American ministries are unclear and questions abound: Does the lack of visible progress among Asian American ministries for over three decades indicate that homogenous church plants are missiologically ineffective? If an effective ministry model was developed for second generation Asian Americans, would there be healthy multiplication (on a national level)? Do the localized nature of fruitful Asian American ministries today point primarily to the individual competence of particular ministers and personalities? Is it too dreamy to envision a “generational” church or national renewal for second generation Asian Americans? Do the contextual demands for a particular region supersede the general ministry demands of the second generation Asian Americans group? There is no clear indication that Asian American ministries have broken the code to the “Silent Exodus” phenomenon or if an ethno-generational code even exists. There remains a need for data, exploratory ministries, and results to address the “Silent Exodus.” The author’s study focuses on a narrow perspective within the “Silent Exodus” phenomenon of those who actually found a destination and brackets out perspectives such as apostasy, those who stayed in the ethnic church despite grievances, and those who still have faith in Jesus but gave up on institutionalized religion. He recruited 165 Chinese and Korean Americans in six marque non-ethnic churches in New York City who attended an ethnic church for at least three years at some point in their life. He created an Asian American Christian Survey, a 36 Likert Scale and 4 Fill-in questionnaire, which seeks to measure the attitudes of Asian American Christians who left their ethnic churches for non-ethnic churches. The author discovered that the top reasons Asian Americans prefer the non-ethnic church are the same for each of the six marque churches: standard of excellence, their multicultural value, and their non-legalistic culture. The six marque churches surveyed are Trinity Grace Church, Redeemer Presbyterian Church, New Life Fellowship, Times Square Church, Hope NYC, and Hillsong NYC. Another 68 respondents in the New York Metropolitan area, not attending these six marque churches, prefer their current churches to an Asian American church for the same top three reasons out of eleven evaluated: standard of excellence, their multicultural value, and their non-legalistic culture. Recommendations for ministry include thoughtfully deconstructing why current Asian American ministries are faltering and theologically constructing healthier Asian American ministries in light of insights learned from ministries creating destinations for the “Silent Exodus” population, systemic changes regarding core values and practices, and developing leaders who embody these values. Research results overwhelmingly indicate incompetence and immaturity among Asian American ministry leaders.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Eng, Milton, Chan, Frank
Commitee: Chan, Frank, Eng, Milton, Sanders, Martin
School: Nyack College, Alliance Theological Seminary
Department: Christiian Leadership
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 78/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Clerical studies, Asian American Studies, Divinity
Keywords: Asian american ministry, Chinese americans, Fong, Ken, Korean americans, Lee, Helen, Second generation, Silent exodus
Publication Number: 10277559
ISBN: 978-1-369-73687-8
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