It’s Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month!
Helen Lee wrote about church planting among Asian Americans just a few days ago. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area where this is a hot topic. The mayors or vice mayors of our four largest cities, (San Jose, San Francisco, Oakland an Fremont) plus the mayors of several smaller cities are all Asian Americans. Between 2000 and 2010, the population of Santa Clara County (think Silicon Valley) added 140,000 to its Asian population. Of the 571,000 Asians living in the county, approximately 300,000 live in city of San Jose. In San Francisco, one out of three people is Asian, and some cities, such as Cupertino, home to Apple Inc, are now majority Asian cities. (Cupertino is 63% Asian). Many are first generation Americans; the vice mayor of San Jose, for example, arrived from Vietnam on a boat. Other Asians have lived in the Americas for many generations.
While many Asian Americans first arrived in cities along the Pacific Rim, or megacities like New York, others prefer quiet suburbs in places where there are jobs, affordable homes and excellent schools, just like millions of other North Americans do. Many are finding their places as politicians, scholars, scientists, nurses and more, all over the Americas.
I have spent a lot of time praying about starting churches Asians. I pray with the heart of a second-generation immigrant, grateful that New York embraced my father when he emigrated from Norway as a boy. Lately however, my prayers have expanded to include the concern that we also don’t ignore Asian Americans. I long to see more individuals thrive across racial lines as church planting coaches, assessors, and mentors. I hope for many to be offered resources and support systems equivalent to those afforded Caucasian church planters. Asian Americans lead cities where all kinds of people live, and they can lead churches where all kinds of people worship. I dream of thousands of Asian American, strategists and catalysts, and I imagine them authoring excellent church planting books. It’s about time.