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Church news, Community, Tim Tseng update

A Family Church

November 1, 2012

Greetings Canaan EM’ers and friends,

Kudos to our Children’s Ministry leaders for such a fun Fall Fest last night! Seeing all children, parents, and volunteers was invigorating!

No doubt about it – our church is good at ministering to children. Between our VBS and Sunday School programs and the Taiwanese American Center’s Sunday Afternoon programs, we are gaining a great reputation among the Asian American community for our children friendly community.

When I fist came to Canaan, I dreamed of building up a Christ-centered Asian American community filled with bible-loving and theologically-articulate members (that is, people who enjoy talking deeply about their faith). I wanted to see people become influencers in the world with words and acts of grace. I looked for a determination to prove, against all odds, that an English-speaking ministry could thrive in an Asian immigrant church. I sought to lead a cadre of young Asian American Christians who could usher in a new vision for a post-evangelical Christianity. In other words, I wanted to surround myself with folks who have a passion for Christ, his church, and the proclamation of his gospel.

But I now realize that Canaan is not that kind of place. It is a family church. Belonging to this family is more highly valued than being articulate about our faith. When we serve others, we do so because we care for people the way we care for our families – and less so because we are seeking to imitate Jesus Christ. Perhaps a bit overstated? What do you think?

In any event, as we saw last night and at VBS, being a children-centered family church is not a bad thing (we really ought to have an AWANA program, too). Our English Ministry must put much more energy into:

  1. helping singles feel like they belong at Canaan
  2. preparing couples for marriage
  3. strengthening marriages
  4. supporting parents and their children
  5. resourcing middle-aged folks to transition into the second halves of their lives
  6. encouraging seniors to share their wisdom

But during this time of discernment, the central question that weighs on my mind is this: does Canaan’s children and family focus mean that I need to abandon my dreams? The very dreams that God laid on my heart thirty years ago when I was called? The very ones that propelled me into Asian American ministry and theological education? I hope not. In the best case scenario, I would like Canaan’s English ministry to become a model family church that also cultivates thoughtful people who can influence the wider Church and world for Christ.

So let me know what you think. And please continue to pray for me and our church’s leadership during this time of discernment.


1. Planning Center Online (PCO) is our new online service planner. When you are signed up, you can easily organize and schedule your worship or children’s ministry service (we plan to add more services). No more schedule conflicts, no more over-loading your service opportunities, and changing your schedule is easy. Your schedule can be linked to your iCal or Google calendar as well. Mobile apps for Android and Apple are available (look for Planning Center Online or PCO).

If you haven’t received an email invitation to serve as a worship leader or in children’s ministry, please let me know immediately!

2. Advent Devotionals for your family!
This Advent, consider using “Anticipate: An Advent Experience,” a family devotional guide. This guide provides daily bible reflections for your whole family from the day before Advent (Dec 1) to Christmas morning. Each day’s reflection includes an ornament that your family can make to hang on a Jesse Tree. The devotional book is $7.00. Please let me know by November 11 if you want a copy so that I can order one for you.

3. Operation Christmas Child – Shoebox Packing Party (Sun, Nov 11, 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.)
All are invited to the Fellowship Hall during second hour on Nov. 11 to help pack shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. Refreshments will be served! Contact William Effendy [EMAIL]

4. Opportunities to serve! We are looking for volunteers to help with the following opportunities.

  • More people to serve lunch during November. Adults, please sign up at!
  • Setting up the Christmas Tree before Nov. 25th [2 persons]
  • Christmas Tree lighting and decoration on Nov 25th during the second hour [1 person]
  • Ministry fair for 2013 opportunities on Dec 2 during the second hour [2 persons]
  • Welcome reception on Dec 9 during the second hour [one person]
  • Christmas Party on Dec 16 during the second hour [2 persons]
  • Canaan Awards Night (tentatively Jan 5) [2 persons]
  • Chris Liu Ordination Service Planning Team (TBD) [1 or 2 coordinator]

5. “LIVE! from Bethlehem,” Canaan Christmas Musical & Sing-Along (Sat, 12/15, 7pm)
Invite your family and friends to learn why we celebrate Christmas!
Next PRACTICE is Sunday 11/18 (WH1; 1:15pm to 2:30pm, all skit actors practice).
Future rehearsal dates:
12/02 Sunday. rehearsal (TBA)
12/09 Sunday. Full rehearsal with all actors, musicians, etc. (TBA)
12/15 Saturday. Full rehearsal with all actors, musicians, etc. (TBA)

See you Sunday!

Tim Tseng 曾 祥 雨 :: PhD
Pastor of English Ministries


About Tim Tseng, Ph.D.

I am Pacific Area Director of Intervarsity Christian Fellowship's Graduate and Faculty Ministries. I'm also a historian, theological educator, and pastor.


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English Service 10 AM (Worship Hall 3)

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Enter through door 1 from rear parking lot.


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