Corner of Crown & Albion Streets, Surry Hills, NSW, Australia
Photo by Albert Chiu



The stained glass windows of CPC's auditorium.

Pastoral Letter 28th February 2021

牧聲 二零二一年二月二十八日
Pastor Steaven Cheung

One of the key tensions within any Asian church is how to minister to the Next-Gen space. The issues stem mostly from cultural roots, as the ‘Next-Generation’ space often begins as simply the children of the church, and therefore is defined by their age group relative to the parents, aunties and uncles of the church. The tension arises when the faithful sowing of the generation before the ‘Next-Gen’ brings fruit into the lives of those within that group and their skill set begins to flourish in their universities, work and families. The Asian culture finds transition and challenge from those considered ‘younger’ difficult to accept. However, if we are able to find a theology of transition and engagement in this space, CPC would be hurdling across an obstacle very few Asian churches have.  

What may aid in our understanding is rather than a specific age group, we can define ‘Next-Gen’ as the cohort within the church that has the function of renewing, challenging and growing the values of the generation prior. As a church grows, there is a risk of values and practices becoming outdated or simply forgotten by those that have grown used to it, or even by the ones who had defined it initially. The Next-Gen engages those values by asking, why we do things the way we do? Are the ways we are doing things truly reaching the goals we’ve set? Is our practice of church the most effective in expressing the Kingdom of God within the world around us? If I may use the example of Evening service to explain further; the evening service is an opportunity for the same values of discipleship, gospel and Presbyterianism to be expressed in a more contemporary manner, outside of the momentum and history of our regular services. If it grows, not only will it add an avenue of mission for CPC, but we may also gain learning points to help improve how we engage those in other services outside of our usual rhythms. Think of it as R&D, as compared to the ‘Central’ Morning services.

The successful engagement and empowerment of the Next-Gen is vital for the renewal of the Church. We see this also in Scripture, Joshua took on Moses’ mission and brought Israel to the Promised land, Solomon builds the temple his father could not and even Jesus told His disciples that they were to do ‘greater things’. This theology of transition between generations is going to be and has always been a key piece of our growth moving forward, and hopefully by God’s grace, if we are able to do this well in this generation, the current ‘Next-Gen’ will one day become the incumbent generation, ready to the challenged, frustrated but also renewed the by ‘Next-Gen’ that is coming.

在任何一個亞洲教會內部,都會經驗一個關鍵性的緊張關係, 是出現於牧養「下一代」這範籌中。這些問題大多源於文化的相異,因為「下一代」通常是指在教會裡的孩子們,這是相對於他們在教會的父母,阿姨和叔叔的年齡組來說的。當「下一代」之前這一代人信實地播種給「下一代」, 並在後者的生活中開始結實時,「下一代」的技能也開始在他們的大學、工作和家庭中茁壯成長。緊張情況就出現了。亞洲文化難以接受「年輕」 人想推動的轉變和挑戰。但是,如果我們能夠在這個領域認清過渡和互動的神學原則,CPC將能跨越一個很少亞洲教會能跨越的障礙。

我們可以將「下一代」這名詞定義為教會內具有更新、挑戰和增進前一代之價值觀功能的群體,而不是特定的年齡組, 這可能有助於我們理解這討論。隨著教會的發展,價值觀和實踐途徑有可能已過時, 或被那些習以為常的人,甚至那些最初定義它們的人遺忘了。「下一代」接觸這些價值觀時會問: 為什麼我們以現存的方式做事?我們做事的方式是否真正能達到我們設定的目標?我們教會的做法是在現代世界表達神的國度最有效的方法嗎?如果我可以使用下午崇拜的例子作進一步解釋:下午崇拜是一個機會以更現代化的方式, 有超於我們慣常崇拜的方式, 動力和歷史傳統表達我們對作門徒、福音和長老宗信仰的價值觀。如果這樣的改變能發展起來,它不僅會為CPC增加一個達成使命的途徑,而且我們也可能從中獲得學習的要點,以幫助我們找到接觸及服侍參與其他崇拜的會友。我們可以將這嘗試視為早上「正規」英語崇拜以外的研究與發展工作。

與「下一代」的携手同行並賦權於他們去發展, 對教會的復興至關重要。我們在《聖經》中也看到了這一點,約書亞承接了摩西的使命,把以色列帶到了應許之地,所羅門建造了他父親無法建造的聖殿,甚至耶穌也告訴衪的門徒,他們要做「更大的事情」。這種代代相傳的神學將是,而且一直是我們成長的關鍵部分。盼望通過上帝的恩典,當前的「下一代」將會一天成為「現任的一代」,又願意接受挑戰,雖然可能有點不適應, 但已做好了準備,去更新他們的「下一代」。