Our theological family has a rich history of mobilizing leaders (women and men, lay and clergy) to work for wholeness in their city. Crossway Christian Church (CCC) — a Mandarin congregation in Victoria, British Columbia — is building on that rich history, working within their community to see lives, communities and groups changed and restored.
Founded by Rev. Joseph Zhou over a decade ago, CCC was launched with the intentional purpose of building community among the growing Chinese community in their area, many of whom are searching for a place to call “home.” Rev. Zhou has since moved on to another district assignment, leading another Chinese Church in Romania. But before he left, he identified his successor — current lead pastor Rev. Haiwei Chen.
Since moving into the position, Rev. Chen has worked to build a team of laity who provide leadership, oversight and pastoral care for the congregation. This newly formed team planned and held community outreach events during the summer of 2022, which were followed by discipleship classes. Several people their team connected with during the outreach events were curious about discipleship. “At the end of the summer, on August 28, eight people got baptized after attending the classes, which is a great milestone in the journey with God, Lord Jesus Christ to extend his kingdom,” shared Rev. Chen.
“Pastor Chen has effectively identified people with spiritual gifts and passions to work alongside him in the hard work of renewal and new beginnings in this church,” said Rev. Justin Bradbury, regional network director for Western Canada in The Wesleyan Church (TWC).
God used that team of diverse leaders to disciple a diverse group of new believers. “Among those baptized were two brand new believers, in addition to a few ‘lapsed’ church goers and some teenagers and children. The leadership team meets once per month to plan their ministry work, and once per month simply to pray together for the church and the growing Chinese community on Vancouver Island,” Rev. Bradbury continued.
After just over a year meeting together, this team has seen the Holy Spirit do some tremendous work within their congregation. Previously a church of 12 people, the church has grown to 60-70, with more people being reached regularly.
As Rev. Bradbury reflects on CCC, he sees Rev. Chen’s work as a model worth paying attention to as TWC continues to see growing populations of immigrant neighbors in need of vibrant communities.
“I want our awesome Wesleyan family to see how vital it is to partner with diaspora Christian leaders like Pastor Chen, and support their evangelistic and discipleship work,” reflected Rev. Bradbury. “In April of 2022, I had the privilege of welcoming 40 new adult members into the Wesleyan family through the vital work that Pastor Chen and his team are doing. The Lord is sending workers to North America every single day of the week.”
For more stories of how The Wesleyan Church is fostering cooperation between laity and clergy, visit wesleyan.org.
Rev. Ethan Linder is the pastor of discipleship at College Wesleyan Church in Marion, Indiana, and contributing editor at The Wesleyan Church’s Education and Clergy Development Division.