Great Stuff — Lutheran church offers services to local Chinese community

Thanks to a regular BJS reader for pointing out this newspaper article about what his church is doing to reach out to the local community. Pastor Paul is a very confessional guy. All his services are in Chinese, but follow the traditional liturgy, quite a change for many of the Chinese, whose main exposure to Christianity was a more pentecostal style.

Pr Paul anticipates a couple of baptisms soon. He has 4 catechism groups going currently (organized by language skills and by spitritual maturity) and expects several to become members after finishing the course. One of the Chinese worshippers (not a member yet) visited his un-churched father in China recently and talked with him about Christianity. The father asked for more info and Pastor Paul put him in touch with a pastor in China who spoke with him and later baptized him. The father is now asking if Pastor Paul’s sermons can be put online for him to view in China.

Pastor Pauls sermon blog, with podcasts, can be found here.

Excerpts below from the newspaper article; click here for the full article.

 

PHOTO BY ZACH NELSON Paul delivers a sermon at the St. Paul's Lutheran Church Community Center. Paul speaks fluent Mandarin and developed his speaking skills as he worked abroad.

The meeting room is unadorned but for about 30 folding chairs that face a simple lectern and a small wooden cabinet upon which a pair of candelabra and a silver crucifix have been arranged.

It is 10:30 on a Sunday morning and the chairs are about two-thirds occupied. There are sleeping infants and fidgety youngsters among the adults in the room.

A tall, slender man with salt-and-pepper-gray hair stands at the altar facing the congregation; he is wearing the traditional vestments of a Lutheran minister.

He raises his arms to lead his small flock in prayer and begins to speak, lyrically and fluently, in Mandarin Chinese.

And the congregation responds in kind.

The Rev. Michael Paul is the only Caucasian in the room at the Lutheran Community Center, 16 E. Michigan St. on Evansville’s near North Side.

It is adjacent to St. Paul’s Lutheran Church.

Members of the Evansville Chinese Christian Fellowship have been worshipping with Paul since last March, said Newburgh veterinarian Dr. Jimmy Yu.

 

PHOTO BY EAMON QUEENEY
The Rev. Michael Paul leads a song during his weekly Mandarin Church service held at St. Paul's Lutheran Church.

. . .

 

Call it serendipity, divine providence or simply good timing, but a series of social visits to Evansville in 2010, originally to meet with a Chinese couple the Pauls knew from St. Louis, opened up a rare opportunity.

“We knew there were four Chinese families wanting a Chinese-speaking pastor. We met them, we began attending fellowship meetings with them. We looked at various Lutheran churches and St. Paul’s embraced the idea,” Paul said, adding that in December 2010 he was offered a call to join the parish as an associate pastor of missions.

 

PHOTO BY EAMON QUEENEY Parishioners at the Mandarin church service led by Paul use a book of hymns and prayers translated into Mandarinl.

The first Mandarin church services began in March this year. Sundays now include adult Bible study in Mandarin; Sunday services based on the Lutheran Service Book, which follows the Christian calendar, in Mandarin; and a communally prepared meal afterward (most conversations are in Mandarin).

 

. . .

 

Michael Paul is very musically inclined, said Irene. In addition to his preaching, teaching and (occasional) public speaking schedule, he is working to develop a songbook that pairs Bible verses with his original melodies. He scores and prints out the songs for his parishioners — in Mandarin Chinese characters.

He also prepares and prints a Sunday bulletin each week that includes the liturgy and lectionary readings, and his sermon, all in Mandarin Chinese characters.

It takes a while to do the typing, he said.

“But Google has a free app for that.”

 

Click here for the full article.

About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord, LCMSsermons.com, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

More of his work can be found at KNFA.net.

Comments

Great Stuff — Lutheran church offers services to local Chinese community — 5 Comments

  1. Thank you for posting this. The Lutheran Chinese mission in Evansville, Indiana is soon to be a part of a new mission society with a much broader scope of furthering the cause of confessional Lutheranism in the Chinese-speaking world. If you have an interest in this work, please contact me. Thanks again, Pastor Paul.

  2. Who said that the LCMS was only a church for German-Americans? There is also no evidence of Willow Creek Association materials in their congregation. Good stuff!

  3. There are lots of Chinese-American LCMS congregations and ministries out here in California, some of which have been in place for quite a long time. One in particular, Holy Spirit Lutheran Church in San Francisco, has had many fine LCMS pastors come out of its congregation. One was a vicar at our church 15 years ago, and it was easy to see what a wonderful pastor he would be. We are blessed with a Faith which is timeless in its theology and which is right for ‘all nations.’

  4. @Wallenstein #3
    Wallenstein: There certainly are no Willow Creek Association materials here. I was just catechizing a Chinese couple last week that come from a Willow Creek-type church background. They were amazed at what Scripture actually teaches about the Lord’s Supper–our topic for the evening.

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