What do next gen Asian Americans need?

The recurring themes that I (DJ Chuang) hear from next generation Asian American pastors since I started networking and connecting with my peers in the late 1990s has remained the same: a desire to have role models and mentors. One of the challenges for leaders and pastors in any sphere is the isolation that comes with the stressful demands and responsibilities of that role. Just as Moses needed and was supported by Aaron, so too does every pastor need someone or several others to support him (or her) for the work of ministry.

Additional, other needs have surfaced through various articles, interviews, research (formal and informal), because pastors and church leaders often learn that academic seminary training is not enough for the fast-changing world that churches must serve in our current society. Here are links that refer to the opportunities and needs for developing effective pastors among next generation Asian Americans:

Asian American Churches: An Introductory Survey” (L2 Foundation and Leadership Network, 2007)

Asian American religious leadership today : a preliminary inquiry” (Pulpit & Pew, 2005)

Asian American pastors minister across culture gap” (Los Angeles Times, 2007)

A 2005 Duke Divinity School study, “Asian American Religious Leadership Today,” said the most acute tensions in Asian American churches revolved around clashes between the generations over cultural differences in the styles and philosophies of church leadership and control. Young pastors, the study found, tended to view immigrant churches as “dysfunctional and hypocritical religious institutions” that demonstrate a “negative expression” of Christian spirituality.

… Asian American churches were going through a “crisis of leadership” because seminaries were not preparing a new generation of pastors to work in multigenerational and multicultural settings.

Los Angeles Times, 2007

Five Cries of Asian American Christian Young Adults (Dr. Timothy Tseng, 2011)

The Profile of Asian-American Pastors.” Great Commission Research Journal, 5(1), 99-116. 2013. Jonathan H. Kim, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Christian Education, Talbot School of Theology at Biola University.

The purpose of this study was to examine personal and institutional issues
affecting Asian-American pastors’ ministry tenure. … Unfortunately, short-term pastoral tenure has become one of the adverse issues affecting the health and growth of Asian churches in the United States. Significant anecdotal evidence indicated that Asian churches are experiencing a shortage of pastors caused by a destructive cycle of pastoral turnover.

Asian American Pastors Share Stories and Encouragement at ‘Synergy Retreat’ (Christianity Daily, 2017)

A History of Asian American Christianity from 2003 to 2019 (DJ Chuang)

Asian Americans Who Are Presidents Of Major Evangelical Organizations and Asian American Ministry Pioneers (in SOLA Network’s blog series “Asian American Leadership”)

The Need for Asian American Theological Scholarship” (Chiwon Kim, Reclaim Magazine, 2021)

Thirty Network – advances the leadership of next generation Asian American pastors and church leaders in a multiethnic world by connecting them for mentoring and ministry opportunities.

18 Things about Asian American Christianity (DJ Chuang, 2022)

Other References about Asian American Pastors

“According to a survey conducted by the Asian American Center at Fuller Seminary, senior pastors of largely mono-cultural, independently-led, English-speaking congregations reported ethnic identity as less important than their colleagues pastoring other types of Asian American congregations.” (source: How Important is Ethic Identity to Asian American Pastors)

Token Asian American Pastor? (Peter Park, in SOLA Network blog)

NextGen Asian American pastors go ‘all in’ – NextGen SBC Asian American Pastors’ Summit fosters deeper connections with the IMB


We Asians and Asian Americans aren’t very comfortable revealing our needs and asking for help. The occasional email or phone call that I do get from Asian churches and pastors are these: a church is looking for a pastor, or a pastor is looking for a new job. There you go; it is what it is.

photo credit: L2 Foundation

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