Additionally, cultural competencies and humility are increasingly vital for pastoral leadership. As conversations and critiques of race and racialization become commonplace aspects of public discourse—and increasingly part of evangelical consciousness in North America—it is more necessary than ever to embrace, articulate, and celebrate the gift of being Asian American (and the Asian American church). But who does that involve and what does that mean? And what is the role of the Asian American church in encouraging ethnic identity, formation, and consciousness, especially as it relates to God’s ministry and mission of reconciliation, justice, and healing in and through the church?
It is our conviction that being Asian American is not incidental or ancillary to God’s ministry and mission, but central to what the gospel of Jesus Christ looks like in our world. Asian American churches contribute uniquely to the beauty of God’s inbreaking kingdom by being Asian American. God through Christ has clothed Asian American congregations in particular flesh, cultures, and ethnic identities in order to be with people, just as Jesus was with people, in solidarity with their struggles and sufferings, their hopes and dreams. Without the particular voice and presence of the Asian American church, God’s many-colored kingdom is somehow lesser for it.
This is why Fuller has created a unique Doctor of Ministry program to help students identify, articulate, and reframe the socio-cultural and theological challenges operating in Asian American contexts. The goal is to assist students in the flourishing of their congregations for mission by providing tools to analyze the student’s own social location, the living theology of their congregations, and the cultural dynamics of their local context. Specifically, students will become skilled practitioners of a hermeneutical lens at the intersection of (1) Asian heritage, (2) migration, (3) American culture, and (4) racialization, while engaging in critical analysis and reflection necessary to engage missionally in their specific context. Students will work to listen to the Spirit and reimagine what God may be saying to the Asian American church for our times.