BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP) — Chris Wong never considered himself a second-generation Peruvian American until he started working in ministry with the North American Mission Board (NAMB) to reach second-generation populations.
Second generation is “more like a sociological term to describe that segment of the population,” said Wong, NAMB’s second generation national coordinator. He described himself to Baptist Press as “a white-looking guy that speaks Spanish and has a Chinese last name.” His parents moved to the U.S. from Peru shortly before he was born.
When the National Asian American (NAA) Fellowship holds its annual meeting June 10 in Birmingham, Ala., Wong will report on a NAMB initiative he leads to help reach second generation ethnic groups in the U.S. with the Gospel. The Second Generation Asian American Fellowship, which the NAA Fellowship launched in 2017, will also attend. The meeting will be held prior to the 2019 Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting.
“Second gen is almost like a hidden people group within the United States,” Wong said.
Wong works “to help those 1.5 (generation), second generation, third generation Asian Americans” and other ethnic groups “all across the board that sense a calling to plant outside of the first generation immigrant church,” he said, “either multiethnic, or to reach other 1.5, second generation folks.
“There is a huge need, a huge interest really,” Wong said. “There’s a lot of … pastors and leaders that have questions as to what steps they need to take to reach that second gen.”
Other speakers will include Ronnie Floyd, president-elect of the SBC Executive Committee, and Doug Carver, NAMB executive director of chaplaincy. The NAA Fellowship President Sammy Joo, Asian church consultant with the North Carolina Baptist Convention, will preside over the 7 p.m. meeting in East Ballroom B on the first level of the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex.
The NAA Fellowship will present plaques of appreciation to Ashley Clayton, SBC EC vice president for Cooperative Program and stewardship; Bill Townes Jr., SBC EC vice president for convention finance; and Art Toalston, BP senior editor, according to Paul Kim, SBC EC Asian American relations consultant.
Various entity staff members and Asian Baptists will share testimonies. “We will meet there to give updates [on] what God has done since last annual meeting at Dallas,” Kim said.
The NAA Fellowship encompasses eight Asian Southern Baptist fellowships, many of which hold separate annual meetings in addition to gatherings surrounding the SBC annual meeting. Among meetings announced this year, Kim told BP, the Cambodian Baptist Fellowship will meet in Macon, Ga. in late June, and the Vietnamese Baptist Fellowship will meet in early July in Atlanta.
The SBC offers “Meet Southern Baptists” informational brochures in various native Asian languages at sbc.net/aboutus. Asian language brochures are listed on the right side of the page.