MILPITAS, California (BP) – After a four-year hiatus because of Covid, the 21st biennial conference of the Chinese Baptist Fellowship of the United States and Canada took place Sept. 26-29 at Crosspoint Church of Silicon Valley in Milpitas.
More than 200 hundred pastors, leaders, and wives gathered from 22 states and three Canadian provinces.
“We have a lot of first-timers to come to this meeting this year,” Executive Director Jeremy Sin told Baptist Press.
“Many of the participants of this event felt they were encouraged, were inspired by the multigenerational leadership of this event. They feel they belong to this family of Chinese Baptists,” he said.
The theme “Soar like an eagle … live out your calling,” was emphasized as the Chinese Fellowship gathered in worship.
The guest speaker for the event was David Allen, founding dean of the School of Preaching at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and current distinguished visiting professor of practical theology and dean of the Adrian Rogers Center for Biblical Preaching at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary.
Allen led a workshop on text-driven preaching, where the focus is to remain on the main text rather than supportive scriptures elsewhere in the Bible.
Representatives from several Southern Baptist entities – IMB, NAMB, WMU, Midwestern, Southwestern and Gateway seminaries, GuideStone Financial Resources, California Southern Baptist Convention, and SBC Executive Committee – were onsite for presentations and interacting one-on-one with members of the Chinese Fellowship.
Workshops covered topics such as “healing heart wounds”, generational partnerships, overcoming obstacles to church growth and facing legal issues affecting California churches.
Sin, NAMB’s national church planting catalyst for East Asian people groups, led a workshop on NAMB’s “Multiplication Pipeline.”
“We have to ask, what do we do with those who were born here or who grew up here? We need them,” Sin said.
“We have Chinese on North America for over 100 years; we have not only second and third generations. We want to reach them too with the gospel and empower them to reach all the nations,” he told Baptist Press.
A special women’s ministry track was offered that focused on experiencing God’s grace amid adversity.
Representatives from the three Southern Baptist seminaries with degree tracks in Chinese shared with attendants.
The gathering included a time to remember those who passed away during the pandemic: Dr. Simon Tsoi, executive director of the Fellowship in 2000-2010; Mrs. Frances Wong, wife of the late Dr. Paul Wong, the first executive director of the Fellowship; and Pastor Karlson Poon, who served in Calexico. Peter Chung, Honorary Advisory Pastor of Mandarin Baptist Church of Los Angeles, led in prayer.
Business at the Chinese Fellowship’s biennial gathering included passage of the budget, election of officers, and a resolution of appreciation for Amos Lee, outgoing executive director who served for five years. He will remain part of the Fellowship’s executive committee as Senior Liaison Officer.
The 2023-24 budget was set at $253,000, a $45,000 increase over the previous two-year budget.
“Thanks to the work of the Foreign Mission Board, now the International Mission Board, so many pastors who start Chinese churches here were blessed by the work of our missionaries in China,” Sin said.
“Many Chinese churches also started with the help of the Home Mission Board now North American Mission Board. We have denominational loyalty because of that. We are working very closely with our mission agencies,” he said.
Election of officers: President Howard Li, pastor of Trust in God Baptist Church in New York City. First vice president Peter Liu, pastor of Beyond Church in Houston. Second vice president Jack Yuen, pastor of Richmond Hill Chinese Baptist Church, in Richmond Hill, a Toronto suburb. Third vice president William Eng, retired pastor of Chinese Baptist Church of Orange County.
Also elected was:
– Secretary Andrew Wu, retired pastor of San Bruno Chinese Church, a San Francisco suburb
– Treasurer Andrew Tong, pastor of Hawaii Baptist Church in Honolulu
– Financial secretary Jady Lo, deaconess at Vancouver Chinese Baptist Church in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Victor Chayasirisobhon, president of the California Southern Baptist Convention and first vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention, brought greetings from both.
The meeting served as the installation service for Jeremy Sim.
“Since I began my ministry in North America in the late 1980’s, attending the Fellowship events gives me the opportunity to catch up with old acquaintances but also making new friends, pastors who have the same calling. I also find that the biennial meeting is also a time for me to learn from experienced leaders, to be inspired by seasoned pastors, and to be challenged by the vision given to the Fellowship. …
“As we affirm our identity as Chinese Baptists, we treasure our Baptist distinctives that are grounded in His word and expressed in our polity and practices.
“As we promote the fellowship with one another, we seek to observe the Great Commandment in loving one another, encouraging one another. As we partner together for His kingdom, we seek to fulfill the Great Commission together, in sharing Christ, in making disciples, in calling out the called, and in seeing churches multiplied,” Sin told the group.
Peter Yanes, SBC Executive Committee associate vice president of Asian relations, spoke highly of Sin.
“I have known Jeremey Sin for years and have been privileged to serve Asian churches together. He exemplifies a servant-leadership, a humble spirit, and love for missions that would elevate what the Chinese Baptist Fellowship envision for their churches to be on missions,” he told Baptist Press.
The fellowship was formed in 1980.
The 2024 biennial meeting of the Chinese Baptist Fellowship of the United States and Canada is to meet in Los Angeles, with the future date to be decided by the Fellowship’s executive team.