New wine skin Leadership for the church?

Greetings everyone –

At the end of this month, I will be heading to the Great Country of Texas – home to the world champion Dallas Mavericks and soon to be champions, Dallas Cowboys (I am such a homer).  There was a 1st generation church that asked me to consider and walk/teach through a process of cultivating a new ministry — specifically in salvaging or rebirthing an English ministry of sorts.  At the time they brought this up last year, I was not in the mood for consulting them through this.  Why bother right?   Normally, in the past, my hardened heart would turn this down, since I know the heart aches that can go with helping a first gen leadership team.  We know the arguments of 1st and 2nd gen clash.  Why teach a old dog new tricks?  I thought I would  introduce a healthy discussion and then seek advice from you who are going through these leadership dynamics and shifts in your AA church context.

As I write this, I am reminded of 2 events by a pastor named Cory Ishida @ Evergreen Baptist Church in San Gabriel, CA. First, I invited him to speak at the 100th year celebration of Protestant influence in Vietnam at the Crystal Cathedral.  If you are unfamiliar with the name, he would be one of the first few pioneers of AA church planting in the US.  In my opinion, the term “Hiving” and “Asian American” wasn’t mainstream until Pastors Cory Ishida and Ken Fong   teamed up for a period of time in the LA area.  He had so much wisdom as he shared the background stories of the “Hive”.

At the opening session, he preached on Mark 2:21-22, “New wine into Old wine skin”.  Now I have spoken on this topic too, when referring to 1st and 2nd gen churches, but it has so much more value when a elderly man who is battled tested doing it.  The audience consisted of a mixed group of young and old leaders.  It was a very touching scene, as he helped bridge the topic of giving birth to a new generation.

Now, on March 20, we are reconvening as a group in response to this urgent desire to see healthier churches for 1st and 2nd gen pastors.   Pastor Cory was invited once again to give practical and strategical advice.  I sit here today blogging away as future leaders will discuss next steps.

For those unfamiliar with this theory of new wine into old wine skin, it sets the stage for a very heated topic of immigrant churches who have a strong desire to “gather and preserve” versus those former English Ministry Pastors who just want to plant out their own.   I think we know the conversation and that is where I want to leave room for comments and feedback with my dilemma.

As I make my trip to the DFW area next week, I am stuck with a situation of varying  philosophical approaches.  How would you approach a 1st gen church who wants to grow and help their dying English generation?  Do we teach break off and start a new?  Do we say keep it in the family, we need to find ways to be unified?  Do we bother going down this road of emotional turmoil and then figure out, it was really for nothing, because we are still in the same situation as last year?  The endless questions continue and the verdict is still not set in the Vietnamese American church context.  Those brothers and sisters in the Korean and Chinese American churches —- what advice do you have for a dying 1st Generation church?  What encouragement do you bring?  What strategies do you propose?

I humbly look forward to soaking in all the comments and feedback.  Pray for fruits on this first trip.

jlin is NOT EVEN CLOSE to Tim Tebow’s impact

This is my own response to my original posting Is Jeremy Lin the next Tim Tebow for Basketball?

I had one week to reflect on this.  One week of the American Sports World taking this to new heights.  One week of Taiwanese flags flying all over MSG stadium.  To assess any situation objectively, we need to <PAUSE> and look at it with objectivity.

For this past week or so, with all the heights and drama, we now see JLIN on the front cover of Sports Illustrated.

I love the story lines.  I root for Jlin (even against the Lakers).  This is what every kid in American needs to have ingrained in their work ethics.  Be coach-able, be persevering, be humble.  The blue-collar middle class should look up to this stud, because he is what we dream of… Work hard enough, you’ll get your chance.  I applaud this because it is a value I hold dear…. BUT HE IS NOT TEBOW, not yet.

After 1 week, I was trying to notice something different. I was looking to see where the GOSPEL would sneak in.  I was looking to see if he would bring FAITH and SPORTS into the same conversation.  As a devout Christian, I wanted him to give credit to a bigger cause.  I was waiting for him to be TEBOW… where he undeniably gives credit and shares his love and compassion to the un-reached people of this world.  I was waiting for him to use the STAGE of STARDOM to unleash God’s message of hope.  This is why Tebow was controversial.  This is why you see stories written on Tebow’s legacy by famous sports writers like Rick Reily’s “Believing in Tim Tebow”.  It’s his work off the field for the LORD that caught the world by surprise.

So my answer to my blog…. NO – not even close.  Not Yet.  Good, but not close…  I pray that his story one day will bring hope to a world that doesnt need more “success” stories, but more “Gospel” stories.

Video: Jlin story from NBA.COM

Is Jeremy Lin the next Tim Tebow for Basketball?

Ok folks – let’s get started with a hot topic in sports and Christianity.  For those of you who do not know who this young man is, please CLICK on this pix, to go to his own personal website.

Lots of good tid bits of who he is and his mission in life.  Interestingly, a Taiwanese American from NoCal goes to Harvard (go figure), plays basketball, and ends up having the 2 best career games on the main stage of Madison Square Garden in NYC (Highlights Game 1 NJ, Game 2 Utah)- after sitting on the bench most of his rookie year in Golden State last year.  So aside from being another Asian bball player we root for, why are we going nuts over this stud?

If he wasn’t drafted by any NBA team, Jeremy would have ended up being a pastor for Asian American ministries.  Heavily active in his faith and outspoken (Time magazine article), you start to wonder, is he the next Tim Tebow of the NBA?

I am sure this conversation will spark some interest, and I want to know if there is something about Christianity mixing with Sports.  Is there room for the limelight and the stage for God to display His Glory to the world?  Do we dare ask if God cares enough to control outcomes…meaning the more success Tim Tebow or Jeremy Lin wins, the more we talk about God and Faith in sports?  Let the questions and the comments begin….


Other crazy highlights:

John Wall #1 pick vs J-Lin at the Summer NBA camp