Pastoral perceptions of church ministry functions in Canadian Chinese churches
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Theses Ed. D.--Christian education.
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This study identified and analysed the pastoral perceptions of church ministry functions in Canadian Chinese churches. It also explored whether the pastoral perceptions of church ministry functions (worship, nurture, mission, fellowship) were related to the pastoral perception of tension among the Cantonese, Mandarin, and English-speaking congregations in Canadian Chinese churches. The research population of the pastors of Chinese churches in the Greater Toronto Area was defined and delimited as those who are active members of the Toronto Chinese Evangelical Ministerial Fellowship. Data were gathered through a three-part survey instrument. Part one collected the demographic data regarding the backgrounds of the respondents. Part two collected the data regarding the respondents' perceptions of church ministry function. Part three collected data regarding the respondents perceived tension between language groups in the Canadian Chinese churches. The issue between the Chinese (both Cantonese and Mandarin) and English-speaking congregations has long been discussed among the Canadian Chinese churches. Among the differences, language barriers and cultural differences were named as the two major reasons for the tension between the groups. The research findings appeared to support this argument, however, the result showed that the differences in perceptions of church ministry functions among the three language groups were very little. In addition, the research findings also indicated that the pastor's age, denominational background, and length of time in Canada all affect the pastoral perceptions of church ministry functions in Canadian Chinese churches. The on-going debate is whether there should be one church for all, or a church for each language group, or at least separate Chinese and English-speaking groups in order to accommodate different ways of doing ministry. In fact, one theory is that the Canadian Chinese churches should aim at becoming a multicultural church. But if the three languages groups cannot overcome such minor differences, how can a multicultural church be possible? The research result suggests that the pastors and leaders of the Cantonese, Mandarin, and English-speaking congregations of the Canadian Chinese churches should begin to dialogue with each other rather than attempting to resolve the issue simply by separation. This would require extraordinary courage, patient, compassion, acceptance, and love from all three language groups for that to happen.
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