Sunday, October 22, 2006
I meet regularly with a small group of guys about once week for a community group / Bible study. Though we're all young-ish, 20-something men, we come from a variety of churches and backgrounds (Chinese / Korean / Japanese / Filipino, etc.) , and we all have different interests and jobs (programmers / students / teacher / graphic artist / ROTC cadet / IRS G-man / youth pastor / filmographer, etc.). Still, despite all our differences, we all share a common faith, a committment to serving others, and even more importantly, a strong desire to see that others around us can experience God's love in tangible ways.
For myself and the other guys in our study, there's been a strong sense that for the past 5 years or so, many young Asian American people in our generation have become disconnected from our communities and our churches here in the Seattle area, especially those who have just finished college and become "career people".
For some people, maybe the reason is because they've had bad experiences in the churches they've attended, or they've become disappointed with God. For others, maybe their priorities has shifted to pursuing a job / career, or being consumed with a romantic relationship. Or maybe even for those who attend church, maybe they've become burned out from over-serving, or feel helpless as many Asian American churches in our area face the so-called "silent exodus".
After a lot of internal struggle and prayer, the time finely seemed right for our group to do something about it... thus, last night's IPN (Interchurch Praise Night).
We didn't know how many people would come. We wondered even if maybe we were crazy, and maybe we were the only people who sensed all these issues in our communities... but we were resolved to try anyways, even if nobody showed came, and the only people there to sing and play worship songs was us.
Initial estimates were for only about 50 people max.
The sanctuary pews ended up packed with over 120 people, and that's when we knew that God had already been at work. We wanted the other young people of our generation to know to not give up, to keep looking for ways to serve God, and show love to the same Asian American communities who raised and cared for us... so it seem ironic that the very encouragement we sought to give to others was received in turn by ourselves as well. Our faith that God continues to care and work in our communities was renewed again, and even despite dwindling numbers and years of neglect, the passion of the people is still there.
As for myself, I don't know what will happen now, but that's OK, because the praise night to me was more than just a bunch people getting together to sing and clap their hands... it was about remembering the source of our love and hope, and drawing strength from not only Christ Himself, but from the community of those around us. Bridges had been built where they weren't before, and old friendships have been renewed.
I suppose it's a just a small vision of things to come, both in this life and the next.
If I didn't live 3 hrs away, I would have loved to attend! Good job, G!
Next time, if you have something on a Saturday, maybe I can drag my friends down. ^_^
Ever since I've started to read the Bible (though very SLOWLY), I've been slightly interested in joining a study group myself. Not sure if I'll be able to do so since I'm so busy (and lazy).Post a Comment