What is the Chinese Heritage Church?

Chinese churches in America trace its history back to over 100 years ago, and many churches today continue to reach people in the Chinese language dialects—Mandarin, Chinese, and Taiwanese, and there are a few less common dialects in use too.

Different terms are used to refer to the Chinese American church, including immigrant Chinese church, ethnic Chinese church, or just Chinese church, though the latter can also refer to the Chinese church in China or the worldwide diaspora.

A newer term has come upon the horizon—the Chinese heritage church. The term was first coined by Enoch Liao, who defines it as:

I also write about issues around Chinese heritage churches. I even came up with that somewhat clunky description to describe the type of church I serve in. That is, a Chinese heritage church is a church with a Chinese heritage by folks who were ethnically Chinese and spoke some Chinese dialects. But as the Chinese diaspora plants roots in various countries, a Chinese heritage church may likely develop and evolve. Will Chinese heritage churches stay predominantly ethnically Chinese? Will there be a gradual trend towards multi-ethnicity? Given that Chinese heritage churches are already so multi-cultural and multi-lingual, only God knows the future.


For some Chinese American pastors, this has become a helpful term—Chinese heritage churches—as the development of their Gospel outreach go beyond only Chinese Americans, towards other non-Chinese Americans, and non-Chinese around the world.

You might be wondering, how many Chinese churches are in the USA? Estimated count is over 1,600 as of 2016, possibly over 2,100 according to the 華人教會名錄.

What are the latest trends and ministry developments with these multilingual Chinese American churches? Here are two videos about the future of the Chinese Heritage Church, hosted by SOLA Network

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