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Chinese appointment fosters closer ties

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On Aug. 8, 2014, BCMB announced David Leung’s appointment to a newly created position, assistant to the conference minister for Chinese churches (ACMCC), starting in September 2014. Leung is the first staff appointed to relate from the wider conference to Chinese MB churches. Chinese MB Herald editor Joseph Kwan interviewed Leung together with conference minister Rob Thiessen.

Why do you think the ACMCC position is necessary?

David-LeungDavid Leung: To facilitate communications, deepen understanding and foster closer ties between the conference and our 18 Chinese MB churches in B.C.

What roles will ACMCC play?

David Leung: In addition to liaising between Chinese churches and the conference, ACMCC also includes proactive pursuit of joint projects, mentoring and coaching, some teaching, as well as supporting Chinese churches in transitional times (e.g., second-generation and Mandarin-speaking congregations).

I will be an advocate for Anabaptist values in Chinese MB churches.

Rob-Thiessen How does David’s background contribute to the role of ACMCC?

Rob Thiessen: David brings years of experience in ministry to this role. He has served the BCMB family of churches faithfully with the national stewardship ministry, and that trust will help our team greatly as we nurture the bonds of brotherhood.

David also brings many years of business and leadership wisdom to this role.

Our BCMB executive team is very excited to have someone with his background on board as we support our churches in leadership and development challenges.

Does BCMB have a vision about Chinese MB churches?

Rob Thiessen: Our prayer and vision for the Chinese churches is that they would thrive in their mission to live and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ in their communities and in the world as God leads.

We will encourage and equip them to preach the gospel with relevance and impact, to work effectively as a community of believers where each person’s gifts are valued and utilized, and to support and encourage their leaders in healthy and sustainable patterns.

What is your personal vision/burden/passion for Chinese MB churches?

David Leung: I have always been passionate about developing and
walking alongside young adults and emerging leaders in their faith journey. With respect to Chinese churches, my burden is to see more collaboration in discipleship training, best ministry practices development and church planting, drawing upon the vast resource networks available through the MB denomination and other organizations.

What growth areas do you see for Chinese MB churches?

David Leung: MBCCA has come a long away from merely hosting an annual joint Good Friday service. There are many inter-church projects and joint ministries currently in place. This partnership spirit among our churches continues to flourish.

In light of the changing demographics of our member churches and the influx of Mandarin-speaking immigrants, there are definite potentials for planting more churches.

The shift in Hong Kong’s political scene may usher a wave of expats returning to Canada.

What do you think are the major challenges of Chinese churches? between BCMB and Chinese congregations? How do you plan to tackle these problems?

David Leung: A major challenge may very well be the issues associated with the transition from a mono-culture to a multi-cultural (i.e., Chinese from different countries and backgrounds) and multi-generational church environment.

As to the challenge between BCMB and Chinese congregations, I believe the lack of understanding of each other’s needs and plans is definitely top on my list. To tackle this problem, intentional efforts in building long-term relationships and effective communications are required.

How does ACMCC fit into the current structure of the B.C. conference?

Rob Thiessen: The ACMCC will be an integral part of our BCMB executive team. David will focus his work among the Chinese churches, but since our goal and desire is for increasing partnership, his role is not limited to MBCCA. David will also assist Ron, Betty-Ann and me as we participate with the MBCCA churches. His help has already been invaluable as we are all somewhat new to this provincial work. We are very excited to work together.

ACMCC is a volunteer position. Will BCMB budget for a permanent ACMCC position (or a similar position) in the years to come?

David Leung: The volunteer nature of the ACMCC position was my preference. I will continue to seek God’s guidance serving and making contributions in this role.

Rob Thiessen: Our BCMB budget is very tight. Thankfully, David is giving us a generous commitment of his time. We will be reviewing the position year by year, but my hope is that the value added by this position will be evident to all the churches and will encourage stronger financial support, allowing us to provide this service over the long term.

Will ACMCC respond to Chinese church needs outside of B.C.?

David Leung: I have been and will continue to coordinate the needs of our churches outside of B.C. with MBCCA and other MB entities.

How will ACMCC operate?

Rob Thiessen: David is not coming on board to replace Ron van Akker and me, but to empower us to move to a greater level of partnership in our mutual mission to reach the lost people of B.C. with the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are meeting with various MBCCA pastors each month, but we are unable to accept every invitation to speak on a Sunday.

David Leung: I will have regular meetings with our conference ministers, MBCCA, as well as pastors and leaders of our Chinese churches. Depending on the nature of issues involved, our Chinese churches can either communicate with the conference ministers or me.

I will be working as needed from home: the best way to contact me is by email or phone.

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