Thursday, March 18, 2010
Greetings brothers and sisters at Canaan!
Short sleeves, shorts, and flip flops – once closeted away – are now on public display. Bubble tea and frozen yogurt shops are getting crowded again. Pink cherry and white pear blossoms suddenly surround us! Ah, spring is in the air!
It is a season of spiritual renewal for Canaan, too! After Pastor Daniel Cheng left last October, Canaan’s English ministry endured a protracted winter season – one that also impacted our Taiwanese and Mandarin speaking sisters and brothers. The entire church has grieved, confessed its sins, and repented. Soon, a public statement addressing some lingering concerns will be released. We have renewed our vows to be faithful to God’s purpose and calling for Canaan.
As the new interim English pastor, I encourage you to reflect on God’s purpose for leading us through this season of wintry discontent. But my ultimate prayer and hope is that you begin to experience renewal at Canaan this Easter Season! I’m committed to renewal. Beginning today, I’ll send brief weekly updates to highlight what I see God doing at Canaan’s English ministry. Please let me know what you think! I am usually in the office on Tuesday and Friday afternoons – or simply contact me if you’d like to talk. And please come to my installation this Sunday at noon in Worship Hall 1! (scroll down to see this Sunday’s schedule)
Today’s update will be longer because I’d like to introduce myself and share how God led me to Canaan.
I grew up in Brooklyn, New York, where my dad planted and pastored a Chinese church back in 1970. I received my call to ministry at Urbana 1981 where God convicted me to serve Chinese and other Asian Americans. While serving as Youth and English pastor at my home church, I completed a PhD in Church History. At that point, the Lord called me into a ministry of academic research and of equipping leaders for Asian American churches. That is how I wound up being a seminary professor for fifteen years. Three years ago, I left seminary teaching to start a para-church ministry called the Institute for the Study of Asian American Christianity. ISAAC develops resources for scholars, seminaries, and church leaders. You can find out about what we do at http://isaacweb.org (I’m especially excited about our on-line Lenten devotional).
This August, my wife, Betty, and I will celebrate our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. We have two boys. My oldest son, Nathaniel, is a freshman at Santa Clara University’s School of Engineering. My second son, Benjamin (Benji), is a sophomore at Castro Valley High School. Can you guess how old I am and where I live?
How I ended up at Canaan
I met Pastor Dan at an ISAAC workshop on Developing Young Adult ministries last Spring. As we became friends, he invited me to speak at Canaan’s English ministry retreat. He also shared with me some of his struggles at Canaan and we prayed regularly for God’s guidance. In September, he informed me of his intention to resign. I urged him to reconsider. As an English pastor with over seventeen years of experience, I felt that he had much to contribute to future Asian American Christian leaders. When it became apparent that Pastor Dan was determined to resign, the entire focus of my preparation for the retreat changed. My role now was to help Canaan enter a painful transition.
During the retreat, as we prayerfully sought God’s wisdom, I felt a nudge from God to return to pastoral ministry. At the time, I had no intention of becoming a pastor again. I was teaching part-time at the University of San Francisco and was quite happy with my role with ISAAC. But at the retreat, I was confronted with the realization that God’s people are more precious to him than my individual accomplishments. All my experiences in theological education and academia paled by comparison. Indeed, as Bill Hybels often says, the local church, though comprised of flawed people, is the world’s greatest hope.
Over the winter, Canaan’s leadership and I entered a time of discernment. As Canaan’s leadership worked at rebuilding trust, I applied for the interim English pastor position. When I received the invitation to serve, it was a real confirmation from God. I’m grateful to Pastor Su for helping to facilitate this process for me. I look forward to working with him, Pastor DJ, Jeremy, Nicole, and the church’s leaders! I will also stay in touch with Pastor Dan to support him and seek his counsel.
I am eager to see how God will use me to help Canaan experience healing and restoration. Canaan’s leadership has already pledged to be more transparent and to communicate more effectively. We are on our way towards renewal!
So please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions, or just want to talk. I’d like to get better acquainted!
This Easter Season, let us renew Canaan’s English ministry and re-energize our walk with Christ together!
Peace and Joy,
Tim Tseng 曾 祥 雨
Interim English Pastor
Canaan Taiwanese Christian Church
4405 Fortran Court, San Jose, CA 95134
Office: 408-942-2822 x113
* * *
President & Executive Director
Institute for the Study of Asian American Christianity
This Sunday at Canaan – March 21, 2010
…an opportunity to create a culture of Christian renewal!
– English worship (Worship Hall 1): Tim will speak on “A Way in the Desert” (Isaiah 43:16-21)
– Children’s Sunday School (Nursery through 6th Grade, various rooms)
– Adult English fellowship (Main Lobby) All English service people are invited to gather for snacks and fellowship (Youth are welcome to have snacks before going to Sunday School). This will be a great opportunity to meet face-to-face in a more relaxed environment.
– High School Sunday School (Room 160)
– Junior High Sunday School (Room 163)
– Little Worship Services for Children (Nursery through 6th Grade, various rooms)
– Installation service for Rev. Tim Tseng (Worship Hall 1)
– Lunch (Fellowship Hall)
Easter Choir Practice: Come and fellowship with other brothers and sisters as we sing
praises to our Lord Jesus Christ for Easter Sunday (Room 102).
Prayer meeting: every Wednesday Night (7:30 PM, Room 103)
Everglow Youth Fellowship: every Friday Night (7:30 PM, Youth Room)
Check bulletin for location and time of Community Group meetings
April 11, 2010: VBS Preview and Information Meeting (1-2pm in Worship Hall 2). CTCC summer VBS will be 8/3-8/7 for kids age 3 to grade 6. Online info and registration: http://VBS.ecanaan.org Contact Shirley Tai, VBS Director
People to contact:
Nicole Lu, Children’s Ministry Director, firstname.lastname@example.org 408.858.6627 (cell)
Jeremy Lee,Youth Ministry Director, email@example.com 408-221-7436 (cell)
Shirley Tai, VBS Director, EMAIL SHIRLEY and see OnVBS.ecanaan.org.
Contact other staff, elders, and deacons at http://www.ecanaan.org/english/subcat1/coworkers.htm