Yamada’s message of hope helps Taiwanese pastors

11-08-2010 by

Alicia Leonardi

Like many second-generation Asian Americans, young Taiwanese are continuing the pattern of leaving the congregations where they were raised.

After leaving home to pursue successful careers, some children of immigrants find they’d rather not return to their roots and want other ways to express their faith.

Dr. Frank Yamada, Director of the Center for Asian American Ministries and Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible at McCormick, recently addressed this issue at the Taiwanese Church Leadership Seminar held October 13-16 in Lombard, Illinois. 

More than 40 women and 60 men from all regions of the United States came to the event where Yamada gave three lectures at the workshop, which was on the past, present and future state of the Asian American church. 

Yamada, a third-generation Japanese American, said that conferences of this nature offer an excellent opportunity to improve ministry through learning from the experiences of other immigrant congregations.

“They just needed some hope,” Yamada said. “I tried to deliver that by showing where they fit in the larger picture of Asian American churches.”

Using passages from the Old and New Testament, Yamada showed attendees how Israel used stories of its ancestors to build community and an enduring national identity. His lectures cast a vision for the future where ethnic congregations learn from each other’s attempts to bridge the generation gap.

“I had several people come up to me afterwards and say this is exactly where our church is at,” Yamada said.