New Venture Launch | Found
Selwyn Li and Helen Yeung had no idea that an encounter on Helen’s last day of seminary at Tyndale would reveal hearts that beat not only for one another, but with a shared sense of the importance of God’s mission in the world.
Two years later wedding bells rang, and they left into Asia as missionaries to teach and train up local lay leaders and pastors. After four years, they were sent back to Canada. Still eager to return to missions abroad, they did not realize that Canada would become their new mission field.
Now with two girls of their own, they settled into a Chinese Alliance church and began flexing their natural leadership muscles and ministry experience in reaching out to young families. Suddenly, a new group of people began to come to them, finding dissatisfaction in the church. Says Helen, “they told us that they were struggling with being part of the church. They had been active members before starting families, but then found it hard to balance family, work, and church.”
As peers to those who were approaching them, Helen and Selwyn began to ponder on the unique needs of the 1.5 generation. The 1.5 generation is comprised of those who were born in Hong Kong but raised by hardworking immigrant parents in Canada. As immigrants, the 1st generation has had an important legacy, but sometimes they do not realize the weight of expectation they place on their children to be part of the church and to maintain a high level of commitment despite the realities of children and work. In addition, the older generation’s Chinese identity is much stronger. The 1.5 generation are finding it hard to fit it in, and often move on to a Caucausian church. “The issue that we see however is that these families don’t settle in. A lot of them still share with us they can’t find a sense of fellowship,” says Helen. “Those of a Caucasian background can’t share their cultural experience.”
Helen and Selwyn came to recognize a unique need in the 1.5 generation, and with prayer, discernment, and partnership, decided to embark on a new journey of walking with them and discerning what God is trying to do as a New Venture of the Christian & Missionary Alliance. They affirm together that God works in each generation, but we shouldn’t expect him to work in the same way among different generations.
Selwyn says that this generation has an eagerness to explore the true essence of the church, rethinking the role of pastor, and the structure, hierarchy, and setting of the church. In conversation with their current core group of families, they have settled on some key values related to mission, the Word of God, living out faith together, and experiencing real transformation. They will eventually host weekly worship gatherings but also want this to be an all-of-life experience. Says Selwyn, “We hope that this won’t happen just as a new format, but that through this experience we will develop into a community that is more reflective of our context. More than just displaying slogans, we want everyone to commit to live this out together.”
Found Church will begin weekly gatherings in July.
Helen and Selwyn compare this journey to their missionary journeys as newlyweds. They are confident to step out into this new ministry phase because they have experienced the provision of how God has already moved them along in their faith journey in the past. But, they insist, they don’t know how it’s going to turn out. They are exploring the gaps. They say that this is a faith journey for them: understanding God, responding to him, letting him transform and use them in this. It’s exciting and challenging, and a good journey to be on.