By the guidance of Jesus Christ, Head of the Church (Ephesians 4:15-16), New York Chinese Alliance Church (NYCAC) began its preparation in 1968 and was officially registered in 1971, 30 years ago.
Thinking back, NYCAC would not have survived till today without God's interventions. Therefore, it is the most important matter to praise the Most-high, One and Only, Sovereign King, our Jehovah God! Let the greatness and marvel of our almighty God be manifested. Let us recount His grace to us before all. May all glory be given to our gracious Lord!
The path through these years were rugged & difficult, but through each event, we learned valuable lessons. One on hand, we learn of human weaknesses and limitations, but God would discipline at the proper time. On the other hand, we clearly experience God's mighty and gracious hand constantly upholding us; His grace is sufficient for His people!
God's own doing in our church can be seen in three main periods:
In 1968, the Metropolitan District of C&MA and the Chinese Churches Association realized that the Chinese population in Chinatown was increasing partly due to large quantity of immigrants. God placed in them the desire to reach out to these Chinese and to plant a church; NYCAC was born.
During this early developmental period, members were few, but the almighty God was walking with us day by day. Even though we were spiritually infantile, we were united, doing our best to minister, yearning to grow. In the short few years following the official registering with the government, we moved 4 times. Membership had once reached about 60.
In 1975, we borrowed $400,000 from our denomination and church members to purchase 175 East Broadway. The 11 stories could be used for apartments for elderlies, day care, etc. The future seemed bright with so much potential to expend. Unfortunately, this building program fell apart and the pastor left; many members also departed. Not that they did not love this church, but rather felt hopeless. Membership had at one point dropped to ten people. The whole messy situation was reported in the papers to the shame of God's name. Therefore, many felt that the only thing to do was to close down the church for good. But there was a faithful remnant who refused to bow to circumstances because they believed that the church was established by God and they must fight to the end for His sake. In those lonely and difficult days, they gathered to wait upon Jesus, the Head of the Church.
When our church was facing this monumental trial in 1975, God was not asleep but heard every cry. He prepared several spiritual elders to help, such as missionary Rev. Holton, CCA chairman Rev. Y. C. Wong, Rev. Philip Law and Dr. Enoch Wan, etc. They brought much needed spiritual guidance and consolation.
In addition, the Alliance headquarters had to fill the financial hole for us since we were completely incapable. But the God we trust is Jehovah-Jireh; He placed the burden on San Francisco Chinese Alliance Church and Regina Chinese Alliance Church (Canada) to support us monthly. God's rich blessing and the love of believers is a testimony we will not soon forget!
Under such dismal circumstances, membership gradually grew in 1977 to the 20s. They rented 149 East Broadway and prayed for the revival of God's church.
God does not forsake His own, but care for their every need. Rev. Andrew Leung arrived in February, 1977. Everyone was moved to do the best to rely on God in rebuilding the church, not willing that the name of our Lord be shamed because of certain past human problems.
One on hand, they kept their eyes on God through prayer; on the other hand, they worked hard at repaying all debts. Considering the fact that they were only a handful of laborers and students, how could they repay the debt? But they did it in about a year! What a powerful God we have! There is nothing impossible with Him! They learned to trust God through this process.
Amidst much thanksgiving and praise, our church moved forward and took up our God-given missions. English congregation began in 1981 in order to nurture the next generation. In order to reach increasing Mandarin speaking immigrants, Mandarin worship was later added. Daughter churches were planted in Brooklyn and Parsippany, NJ. The Kingdom-mentality guided us in all ministry and developments.
Jesus, the Lord of the Harvest, Himself went from village to village with the Gospel of the Kingdom; He set the example for us.
NYCAC entered a new era in the 90s when we strived to become a church of missions so that the world will benefit from this Gospel! We have set a goal and slogan: "May God make our church a strong missions base!"
When God gave us this vision, He gave many confirmations as well. The primary one is God's clear leading, on top of which, Rev. and Mrs. Andrew Leung became missionaries. Rev. Philip Teng was also promoting missions in our church. These all helped us to see this as God's desire for us.
How can a church become a strong missions base? Three main points to follow:
In order for a church to become a mission church, spiritual foundation must be sound ? members must be grounded on Biblical truths, and identify with the Great Commission before there can be unity of purpose and strength.
In these 30 years, nurturing has been a fundamental ministry. Our Sunday School is comprehensively teaching God's word; fellow-ships are training people for ministry. We care for personal growth through small groups and lay-pastoral courses to equip leaders; we pass on the vision through pulpit ministry, etc. With the ultimate goal that every member will live a life of missions full of vision and Biblical understanding.
In addition, a mission church must mobilize the members. Our church changed its structure in 1998 for this very purpose. We praise God for raising up leaders accordingly to take on various ministries so that the strength of the church can carry us forward.
We witness God's abundant blessing especially in our world missions. Besides parti-cipating in supporting the 1,100 C&MA mis-sionaries through offering & prayers, we directly support Rev. & Mrs. Andrew Leung to Panama, Rev. & Mrs. James Chung to Brazil, Rev. John Tsang to Eastern Europe & Mrs. Rosaline Shang to Suriname, etc. We send out several short-term mission teams every year and play the role of coordination in promoting missions among the Chinese Alliance Churches in America. This is pleasing to the Lord even as He does great things through us! Since 2003, we bagan our first cross-cultural ministry by taking an active role in a Jewish Alliance church-plant.
God wants His people to understand that missions is not simply something done overseas, but also in the community where our church is located, sharing the marvelous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ with our neighbors. Therefore, a comprehensive outreach is an obvious mission goal for us.
Chinatown is the landing point of new immigrants. Even as we continue to improve our Cantonese and English ministries, we are developing Mandarin and Tuesday evening service in order to provide opportunities to new immigrants and blue collar laborers to know the Lord and to worship Him. We also have ministries to meet the felt needs of the community such as Elderly fellowship, Youth Summer and After School Tutoring, Adult English classes, etc. These are pre-evangelistic efforts through which we can directly share God's great love!
As NYCAC steps into the third decade, everyone has different ideas of becoming a community church such as school, clinic, nursing home, youth center, family services. There are others who care not for the size of our church or greater and bigger ministries but that we would simply grow in our faith and faithfulness. Others want more church planting both locally and globally. It is most important that brothers and sisters would keep focus on God and His will. May we echo Psalm 131:
"My heart is not proud ... I have stilled and quieted my soul ... [and put my] hope in the Lord." May God lead us to fulfill His perfect will for us so that we can bring Him the glory He deserves.