財團法人台灣省中華基督教信義會

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北美路德信友教會在華人中宣教的新階段

 

陳羲聖牧師   葉勝煌牧師翻譯

2018.3.9

 

如果你們曾在任何時間持續關注北美路德信友教會(以下簡稱CLBA)在台灣宣教士的事工,或許你們已經聽說過CLBA宣教事工在華人當中有三個不同的階段。[1]

第一階段是在1902年至1947年。CLBA宣教士前往中國河南省和湖北省進行工作。當這些宣教士在共產黨接管政權後而離開中國時,這一階段就結束了。

第二階段1952年開始,CLBA宣教士來到台灣,並將他們的事工聚焦於講國語的外省人。幾年之後,這個重點自然而然的擴大到在台灣任何講國語的人。第二階段於1997年結束,當時中華基督教信義會被正式承認為自治、自養和自傳的教會。

第三階段1981年開始,這時候我們開始進行一些焦點放在客家人身上的事工(與第二階段的事工同時進行)。這個新的焦點乃是源自於一個認知,認為客家人顯然比在台灣的其他族群更少接觸福音,而客家教會/事工(如使用客家語言,客家音樂等的聖工)則會幫助客家人更容易理解,接受並將福音傳遞給他們的圈子中的其他人。

經過三七年的客家人為焦點事工之後,2011年在台灣的CLBA宣教團隊改變了我們的使命。這個改變推動我們進入了華人宣教事工的第四階段。第三階段和第四階段的重點差別在於我們希望在客家地區建立/發展教會,而不是希望建立/發展客家教會/事工。這看似措辭上的小變化表明我們想與周圍的人互動的方式發生了重大變化。隨著這一新的事工方向,客家語言和音樂成為我們使用的工具(當我們認為用客語或客家音樂可以產生連結並使事工更有效時),而不是我們在事工上堅持存在不可或缺的方面。

2011年,我們同時也決定,我們不再想把我們的事工繼續局限於未的福音的客家。我們想一邊成為、30年來在客家事工已經發展起來的資源良好管理者,一邊把工作重心轉移到“台灣的未得之民”,這些非基督徒居住在我們周圍,由於各種原因,超出了現有教會事工的範圍。必須要強調的是,在我們的想法中,客家人仍然是台灣未得之民的關鍵部分。

我們做了上面兩個改變是因為我們發現在台灣這個複雜的民族環境中,客家為重點的事工難以維持,並不是像我們原先預料的那樣具有絕對的優勢。我們要全力投入我們的事工努力,克服讓台灣未得之民無法聽到福音的關鍵障礙。

我們目前的宗旨陳述:我們要:(1)對我們已經獲得的事奉能力和文化理解做好管家;(2)著重信義會教義;關心、並帶領以及協助別人關心台灣未得福音的人。

我們希望透過:(1)與中華基督教信義會中的教會合作;(2)在傳福音的事奉上支援其他教會的客家基督徒;(3)教學;(4)研究民間宗教;來完成這宗旨。

請為我們禱告,因為我們要努力使神的話更接近台灣的未得之民。


 

A New Stage in the Ministries of Church of the Lutheran Brethren (CLBA) Missionaries in Taiwan

Ethan Christofferson; March 9, 2018

 

If you have been following the ministries of CLBA missionaries in Taiwan for any amount of time, perhaps you have heard about three different stages of CLBA missionary ministry among Chinese.[2]

 

Stage 1 took place when CLBA missionaries went to Henan and Hubei Provinces in China between 1902 and 1947. This stage ended when these missionaries left China after the communists took over there.

 

Stage 2 began in 1952 as CLBA missionaries came to Taiwan and focused their ministries on Mandarin-speaking mainlanders. This focus naturally broadened over the years to include any Mandarin-speaking person in Taiwan. Stage 2 ended in 1997 when the Chinese Lutheran Brethren Church was formally recognized as self-supporting, self-governing, and self-propagating.

 

Stage 3, a ministry focus on the Hakka-Chinese ethnic group, began in the early 1980s (simultaneous with Stage 2 ministries). This new focus emerged out of a perception that the Hakkas were significantly less reached with the gospel than other ethnic groups in Taiwan and that planting uniquely-Hakka churches/ministries (e.g., using the Hakka language, Hakka music, etc.) would help Hakkas more easily understand, accept, and pass on the gospel to others in their circles.

 

In 2011, after thirty years of ministry focused on planting Hakka churches, our CLBA missionary team in Taiwan changed our mission statement. This change propelled us into what can be called Stage 4 of CLBA missionary ministry among Chinese. One way of explaining the difference in emphasis between Stage 3 and Stage 4 is to say: Instead of desiring “to plant/grow uniquely-Hakka churches/ministries” we want “to plant/grow churches/ministries in Hakka areas.” This seemingly small change in wording expresses a significant change in the way we want to interact with the people around us. With this new ministry direction, Hakka language and music have become tools we use (when and to the extent we feel that such usage creates connections and makes ministry more effective) instead of being indispensable aspects of our ministry we insist are present.

 

In 2011, we also decided that we no longer want to limit our ministry solely to unreached Hakkas. Determining to be good stewards of the resources/understandings already developed during the past thirty years of Hakka ministry, we changed our ministry focus to reaching “the unreached in Taiwan”—those non-Christians living around us who, for a variety of reasons, are beyond the reach of existing church ministries. It is important to note that, in our thinking, Hakkas remain a key part of “the unreached in Taiwan.”

 

We made these two changes because we have found that a uniquely-Hakka ministry focus is difficult to sustain in the complex ethnic environment of Taiwan and is not always as essential and advantageous as we had originally anticipated. We want to invest our ministry efforts wholeheartedly in working to overcome key obstacles that appear to be keeping unreached people in Taiwan from hearing the gospel.

 

Our current mission statement: That we work to reach and partner with others to reach the unreached in Taiwan and do so in a way 1) that takes advantage of our deepening understanding of Hakka and 2) that does so in a decidedly Lutheran way.  That we seek to accomplish this mission through 1) partnering with a few CLBC churches, 2) supporting Hakka Christians in general in their evangelistic efforts, 3) teaching, and 4) researching folk religion.

 

Please pray for us as we seek to be responsible in our efforts to bring the Word closer to the unreached in Taiwan.



[1]請參考:羅威信,1998 路德信徒教會中國差會(即中華信義會差會):福音聖工的三個階段,中華基督教信義會總會成立四十週年感恩特刊,徐新民主編,18-20 新竹市: 中華基督教信義會總會; 羅威信、邱福生修,2007,路德信友教會中國差會:福音聖工的三個階段,中華基督教信義會總會成立五十週年感恩特刊,鄭志仁主編,59-64 新竹市:中華基督教信義會文字部。

[2] See:  Nordtvedt, Joel. 1997. Lutheran Brethren China Mission: Three Stages of Ministry. In Chinese Lutheran Brethren Church: 40th Anniversary Publication (1958-1997), ed. Xin-min Xu, 18-20. Hsinchu, Taiwan: CLBC Literature Committee; Nordtvedt, Joel (updated by Michael Kittelson). 2007. Lutheran Brethren China Mission: Three Stages of Ministry. In Chinese Lutheran Brethren Church: 50th Anniversary Publication (1958-2007), ed. Zhi-ren Zheng, 53-58. Hsinchu, Taiwan: CLBC Literature Committee.