Established 35 years ago, the annual "Western American Chinese Mission Conference" was changed to the "2020 Global Chinese Mission Convention (CMC)" this year and held online due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The theme of this year was "The Gospel", focusing on Christ, the kingdom of God, and His salvation.
Pastor David Lee, director of Chinese Herald Crusades, Southern California District (CCHC LA), gave a lecture entitled "A New Perspective in Reaching Out to Immigrants through Community Services". He pointed out that with the advancement of social science and the improvement in people's quality of life, the previous community service provided by the church for immigrants cannot meet the needs of the new era. To answer the question of how to effectively provide community service for new immigrant groups, Pastor Lee made five suggestions:
First, adapt to the new context by reaching out to others(new opportunities in an unprecedented era).
In the past, the church organized most of their activities within the church. Due to the epidemic this year, the church has been restricted from having in-person services, but can only meet with them virtually. This new situation has led to the blurring of not only the invisible community wall but also the visible church wall. However, the church can take this opportunity to serve a larger community.
Second, preach the gospel not only by words but also in deeds.
Teaching is about sharing values; the gospel is the truth from heaven; healing is about caring for people. These three aspects are indispensable for church ministry. The pastor emphasized that preaching is not just in words, but also by actions. Many people today have heard the gospel, but a better way for the church to let people see and feel the gospel is through our caring work.
Third, serve new immigrant groups by accepting them.
Most immigrant groups now face issues within marriages, including divorce, as well as parent-child relationship problems related to how to educate the next generation. The church has to think about how to help them in this. Therefore, some churches have found professional people to provide targeted counseling. The church should also move from helping immigrants to accepting them, for example, invite them to Christian activities, or encourage them to participate in some gospel ministries.
Fourth, develop expertise in order to serve the community efficiently.
Aiming to better serve the community, Pastor Li suggested that the church "find its strengths and develop them". Although the church might not be able to respond to all the community needs, it could efficiently meet some of them by focusing on what they are good at.
Last, evangelizing by doing community service.
Which one is more important, the gospel ministry or the community service? Pastor Leevsaid that we must preach the gospel, but don’t use words unless necessary. Therefore,vcommunity service as a kind of preaching is even more important.
- Translated by Xiao Dan