November 19, 2014
Dear Canaan English Ministry members and friends,
The weekly Canaan English Ministry Calendar has been updated. Go to canaanem.org/calendar/
Also, we will have a special Thanksgiving English service this Sunday. Bring your friends and family!
- Numerical growth across life stages (including the exciting baby boom).
- A greater desire to reach out to people in Christ’s name rather than come to church just for friends and families.
- We are paying closer attention to ministering to people in life-stage transitions, especially children to youth and college grads to young adults. We can still improve on singles to married couples, families with young children, and empty-nesters.
- Moving our worship space downstairs has helped English and Youth feel closer to the rest of the church.
- Gradual upgrading of our worship space (e.g., new chairs, a stage, etc.)
But, we are also exhibiting clear signs of becoming what I call English Ministry 1.0. This is what every Asian immigrant church faces. As youth enter the adult life stages, there is a gradual disengagement from church life. English-speaking and American-acculturated parents often do not choose to bring their children back to their home church. As a result, English ministries in these churches become a revolving door for adults and perpetually children and youth ministries. EM 1.0 can neither reach the wider U.S. community nor build up a church membership that can take responsibility for the congregation’s facilities and organization. This is our greatest threat and I believe we only have a one or two year window to redesign our English Ministry.
That is why I propose that for 2015, we adopt the theme E.M 2.0. Our pastoral staff has been working towards this idea by attending to life-stage transition ministries, but I feel that the time has come for the entire church to support and build a well-designed and distinct way of doing English and Youth Ministry – EM 2.0.
I believe commitment to three key principles will help us redesign and upgrade our English ministry next year:
- Every person a minister; every ministry is for people (Eph 4:11-12): We will encourage our English Ministry adults and youth to internalize the idea that everyone participates in and has a role to play in building up our church. Everyone has a ministry. We won’t be satisfied with upgrading Canaan’s customers. We need an upgrade of our laborers and investors. Furthermore, we want our ministries to focus more on building up people’s Christian vision and spiritual growth rather than unreflective acts of service.
- Beyond spiritual milk (Hebrew 5:13): It is time to challenge ourselves to grow deeper in our discipleship. It is time to move beyond a shallow faith in which church attendance is seen as little more than being part of a social club. We want to encourage everyone to give more time and energy to eating the meat of biblical and theological nourishment. Doing so will upgrade our ability to minister effectively to thoughtful people within and outside our church.
- Taiwanese PLUS+. We want to make conscious decisions that create space for non-Taiwanese people. For example, we can bring on administrative staff who relate directly to an English-speaking population, highlight missions and people that are not Taiwan or Taiwanese, offer more than Taiwanese food. None of these suggestions abandon our Taiwanese heritage or identity. But for our English Ministry to flourish, we need to intentionally create space for non-Taiwanese.
These three principles are just the beginning of the process of reshaping (and maybe rebranding) our English ministry. I invite you to be part of this opportunity to build a special church community next year!
Now for some important updates…
1. Canaan People column
Come on people! Share about yourself to our community in the Canaan People column of our weekly bulletin. Please go to bit.ly/iamcanaanpeople and let us know who you are and why Canaan is so special to you! Don’t be a “gated” and “guarded” believer! And thanks to all who have already participated.
2. Turkey Bowl XVII. Thanksgiving Day, 9:30am. Join us for our annual flag football games at Kennedy Middle School (821 Bubb Road) in Cupertino. Bring water, cleats and friends. Rain or shine, it’ll be fun! Contact John Tang [email].
3. On Saturday, Dec 6, there will be a Gospel Outreach service conducted in Mandarin at 7:00 pm in church. Contact Pastor DJ for details [email].
4. Advent Season begins on Nov 30th. We encourage everyone to bring an ornament and participate in the tree lighting service that Sunday. We are also looking for people to set up the Christmas tree. This year’s Advent theme is “Jesus is Coming!” What does that mean?
5. On Saturday, Dec 20 our Men’s Fellowship has a service opportunity for ten people at Second Harvest Food Bank between 9 a.m.-Noon. Contact John Tang for more information [email].
See you Sunday!
Tim Tseng 曾 祥 雨 :: PhD
Pastor of English Ministries