Growing Healthy Asian American Churches:
Ministry Insights from Groundbreaking Congregations

Peter Cha,

S. Steven Kang,

Helen Lee

InterVarsity Press

Asian American church is in transition. Congregations face the challenges of preserving ethnic culture and heritage while contextualizing their ministry to younger generations and the unchurched. Many Asian American church leaders struggle with issues like leadership development, community dynamics and intergenerational conflict. But often Asian American churches lack the resources and support they need to fulfill their callings.

Peter Cha, Steve Kang and Helen Lee and a team of veteran Asian American pastors and church leaders offer eight key values for healthy Asian American churches. Drawing on years of expertise and filled with practical examples from landmark churches like Evergreen Baptist Church of Los Angeles, NewSong Church and Lighthouse Christian Church, the book provides soundly biblical perspectives for effective ministry that honors the Asian American cultural context. Insights from such pioneering leaders as Ken Fong, David Gibbons, Grace May, Wayne Ogimachi, Steve Wong, Nancy Sugikawa and Soong-Chan Rah make this an essential guide for Asian American church leaders wanting to help their congregations achieve health and growth.

Produced in partnership with the Catalyst Leadership Center, a resource organization for Asian American church ministry.


Peter Cha

Peter T. Cha (PhD Northwestern University) is Professor of Church, Culture and Society at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He is the co-editor of Growing Healthy Asian American Churches: Ministry Insights from Groundbreaking Congregations (InterVarsity Press, 2006).


S. Steven Kang

S. Steve Kang (PhD, Northwestern University/Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary) is professor of educational ministries and interdisciplinary studies at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He previously taught at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Wheaton College. He is the author of Unveiling the Socioculturally Constructed Multivoiced Self (University Press of America, 2002), A Many Colored Kingdom (Baker Academic, 2004), and is co-editor of Growing Healthy Asian American Churches (InterVarsity Press, 2006).


Helen Lee

Helen Lee has been a Christian publishing professional since 1993, when she began her career working at Christianity Today (CT) magazine. She is the director of product innovation at InterVarsity Press, where she formerly served as an associate editor, director of marketing, and associate director of strategic partnerships.


Growing Healthy Asian American Churches is an outstanding work--a critically needed voice in the urban American mosaic. The authors have 'gifted' us with a text that provides insightful pastoral teachings and a prophetic challenge not only to the Asian American church but to the whole church of our Lord Jesus Christ. This solid, biblical, theological and ministerial book will contribute greatly to the life and mission of the Asian American church and thus play a significant role in the shalom of the city (Jer 29:7).

Eldin Villafane, Ricardo Tanon Distinguished Professor of Hispanic Christianity, Ethics and Urban Ministry, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

This book is truly prophetic for our times--a call for Asian American congregations to embody grace and truth in new ways, as Jesus did. It's essential reading for anyone wanting to learn how God is moving in the Asian American church or serving in this context.

Russell Jeung, Assistant Professor of Asian American Studies, San Francisco State University

One can only dream of being a part of a group like the Catalyst Leadership Forum! It was a dream come true to share fellowship and envision what Asian American churches could be with such a remarkable group. Their wisdom, their commitment to the church, their humility--and now to have it wrapped up in a single book--are a rare and precious gift. Like good Asian food, savor it!

Paul Tokunaga, Asian American Ministry Coordinator, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship

This is the first comprehensive book about Asian American churches written by the leaders of those churches themselves. The essays in this volume are theologically sound and well informed, thoroughly based on the Scripture, and refreshingly honest. The writers tell the stories of their successes and mistakes and propose an insightful, well-thought-out and hopeful vision for the future Asian American churches.

Sang Hyun Lee, Kyung-Chik Han Professor of Systematic Theology and Director of the Program for Asian American Theology and Ministry, Princeton Theological Seminary

In a world in which many people are on the move around the world, the nature and ministry of immigrant churches are of critical importance. This important book examines the problems and potentials these churches have, and gives deep, biblically based recommendations for building healthy churches as households of worship, fellowship and mission. While the focus is on Asian American churches, this book is a must-read not only for all those working with other immigrant churches but also for North American churches and Christians who have much to learn from the vibrant life and outreach of these Asian American churches, and their response to modernity and globalization.

Paul Hiebert, Distinguished Professor of Mission and Anthropology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

Growing Healthy Asian American Churches is an eminently practical book, filled with stories, examples and many wise suggestions for life and ministry in local congregations. Having ministered among Asian Americans for many years, I know that the concerns addressed in these pages are very real and persistent in such contexts. But there is much here to encourage and challenge those serving churches across the broad spectrum of cultural settings.

Gary Parrett, Associate Professor of Educational Ministries Worship, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

Book Reviews

The United States is rapidly becoming the most multicultural Christian country in the world, and one of the main reasons is the growth of Asian American congregations. This timely volume is a spiritually sensitive introduction to these rapidly growing churches. It features dynamic congregations on both coasts and a few places in between... Treatment of these concerns draws on deep wells of congregational experience as well as careful attention to biblical precepts. The result is a series of exceedingly thoughtful guidelines for negotiating the shoals of multiethnic, multigenerational, and multicultural Christian life. As an Anglo reader, I was most struck by the collaborative nature of this book (with 10 authors contributing chapters and many others thanked for active collaboration), and also by the consistent reference to local congregations as "households." In these instances—and more—insight into the singular perils and potential of Asian American churcfi life quickly became instructive Christian wisdom for believers of any ethnicity.

Mark Noll

Professor Emeritus of History, University of Notre Dame

Christianity Today 50, Issue 6 (2006): 62-63.

This book overflows with valuable insight from practitioners in Asian American ministries, yet still has a strong theological foundation. While being a "communal project" (7), this book has cohesion around the healthy household theme. This familial theme resonates with Asian Americans because Asians have a family-based culture... Important issues such as leadership, evangelism, and multi-generational households are covered, but also tough issues, such as gender relations, biracial families, and expressions of mercy and justice. What stands out is the hope and future development in this ministry in contrast to potential blame and criticism on immigrant predecessors... This book is beneficial at the grassroots for those carrying out this ministry. Missiologically, it is of interest for those exploring how a cultural group ministers to its own and beyond.

Daniel L. Wong

Retired Associate Professor of Christian Ministries, Tyndale University

Missiology 35, no 1 (2007): 112-113.

As a pastor myself of an Asian American church, I find this extremely helpful so that I can visualize the steps and the final product of the many good principles that are mentioned in each chapter. One of the unique aspects of this book is that it demonstrates a great sensitivity to the postmodern seeker or potential church attender. With this in mind, many practical insights are offered as to how to approach different ministries within the church such as evangelism, social justice and mercy ministry, and perceptions of pastors and their leadership from this paradigm. These are lessons that are so necessary for the pastor for today which often times are never taught in the context of a bible college or seminary. Thus, this is invaluable counsel and insight for those in ministry... This book is an invaluable tool for anyone, congregant or leader, within an Asian American church context. It touches on many different topics that are all within the mix of the unique struggles and challenges of the Asian American church. My prayer is that more material like this will come out in the future.

Benjamin C. Shin

Associate Professor of Christian Ministry and Leadership, Biola University

Journal of the American Society for Church Growth 18, no 1 (2007): 93-95.