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Chinese fellowship intent on planting churches

NEW ORLEANS (BP) — Church planting again will be the focus of the Chinese Baptist Fellowship of the U.S. and Canada during its June 18 meeting in New Orleans.

The fellowship has planted 15 churches in the past year toward its goal of 800 churches by 2020, said Peter Leong, the group’s president. Chinese churches in the fellowship currently number 275.

“Church Planting: Past, Present and Future” will be the fellowship’s theme, drawn from John 4:30-38, for the noon-4 p.m. gathering at New Orleans Chinese Baptist Church, 3413 Continental Drive in Kenner, a New Orleans suburb.

Ted Lam, ambassador of the fellowship’s church planting project, Jeremy Sin, a church planting specialist with the North American Mission Board and Leong will be the fellowship’s featured speakers.

The fellowship adopted its church planting emphasis in 2010. Many Chinese immigrants have not embraced the Gospel, Leong said, and several northern states, such as the Dakotas and Wyoming, do not have any Chinese Southern Baptist churches. The fellowship has created a database of prospective church plants, he said.

Mobilizing and training laymen in church planting is a main strategy the fellowship will use to reach its goal, Leong said.

“You have to produce so many trained ministers to [plant churches],” he said. “We hope to enlist the laymen.”

Utilizing the resources of several churches to cosponsor a church mission is crucial to success, Leong said. Already, the fellowship’s churches utilize friendship evangelism, Bible study, visitation and evangelistic meetings and retreats in spreading the Gospel.

Greater attendance of Chinese pastors at the SBC annual meeting is also a fellowship goal, though bivocational commitments and limited financial resources constrain participation, Leong said. He expects 30 to 50 fellowship members to attend this year’s convention sessions in New Orleans.

Leong said he encourages Chinese ministers to attend the SBC annual meeting and enthusiastically support the SBC’s entities and concerns, including the Cooperative Program, NAMB, the International Mission Board and the Annie Armstrong and the Lottie Moon offerings.

Concurrently, the SBC should embrace Chinese representation in its leadership, Leong said.

The fellowship’s biannual conference will be Sept. 18–20 at the First Chinese Baptist Church of Los Angeles, with Jeff Iorg, president of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, as keynote speaker.
Diana Chandler is Baptist Press’ staff writer.