The English congregation was started based on several important core values. These core values continue to characterize our congregation today.
Though our target group is Asian-Americans, we desire to reach out to all people.
As an English Congregation in a Chinese Church in Ithaca, we have the first obligation to reach out to Asians, especially Chinese, who share similar background like us, i.e. being born or brought up in North America in families with Asian cultural heritage. Many of them may find our church the place they feel most comfortable in hearing the gospel as there are fewer barriers (culture, language, race, age, education background) for them to cross in their search for understanding Christianity which might be very foreign to them.
But we understand that God's heart is not that we only reach out to people who are like us. Although some people are more natural to be reached by us, we are also called to use every opportunity God gives us to share His love. Having a bi-cultural background might help us to be more sensitive and respectful to other people's culture, and therefore be more effective in sharing the gospel cross culturally.
So although we want the Chinese American non-Christians to be able to find in our church a lot of people with their same background, we also want this congregation to appreciate and celebrate diversity.
We desire to give people in our congregation an opportunity to serve in our church.
We wholeheartedly encourage every Christian to participate and serve in a parachurch campus ministry. Parachurch campus ministries can be very helpful for students’ spiritual life if they enhance their love or the local church, instead of replacing their love for the local church. Instead of developing a sense of entitlement to be served, parachurch organization should help develop of spirit of servanthood to serve the local church both before and after graduation. So we recommend students to evaluate their involvement in parachurch organizations in light of this ideal.
Many students stopped going to church after graduation because they only participated actively in on-campus fellowship while in school, and after graduation they found it difficult to find a fellowship that's similar to on-campus fellowship, with so many people sharing the same background. Some people even tried to attend a student fellowship on a college campus, but they found themselves not able to fit in because they had become an outsider.
Some students who attended local church regularly, but only sat in the pew and listened to sermon passively, had similar difficulty in fitting in a church after graduation. Without serving in ministry it's not easy for Christians to have a healthy and lively faith. But they didn't know how to find their roles in a local church.
FICCC stresses the importance of getting college students involved in ministry in a local church. We encourage Christians to serve in church's governing board and various ministry, in worship service, in children ministry, in youth ministry, in teaching Sunday school, in outreaching to other people, in helping others to learn English, etc. We want to get students exposed to local church ministry and have the leadership experience while they are still college students. Through getting them involved in these ministries, we wish to see their spiritual gifts more clearly identified and developed. We like to help them to see what they could do in a local church no matter where God leads them to go after graduation. Most importantly, we wish to see some of them find their life-time calling while serving in these ministries in the local church. Several former members of FICCC's Chinese Congregation have found their life-time calling because of their ministry involvement in FICCC. We wish to see the same in our English Congregation.
We desire to motivate and equip people to serve in Chinese churches after they leave Ithaca.
One reason why we started English Ministry in FICCC was to help the college students see the urgent needs of workers who could minister to the children of new immigrants to North America in Chinese or Asian churches. These new immigrants are more easily reached by the Chinese churches because of language, but as their children grow unless the Chinese churches have workers who could effectively minister to them in English they won't be able to have solid spiritual growth before they grow up and leave home for college.
Right now there are already quite a few Chinese churches that have excellent English ministry, but many Chinese churches in North America either don't have any English Ministry at all or have rather weak ones. One major reason is a lack of workers.
FICCC wishes to keep Chinese American Christians stay connected with a Chinese church during their college years. We hope not only that they could find their roles in a Chinese church but also that their experience of serving in the Chinese church is so positive that they will be more willing to serve in a Chinese church after they graduate and move to a new place. Although many Chinese churches have not yet been able to provide good environment for English-speaking adults to grow and function, we wish that some of our alumni are trained to believe that God could use them to bring about changes and to make English Ministry in a Chinese church to happen, to grow, and to mature.
We desire to motivate and equip people to serve as cross-cultural missionaries. Although we see clearly that Chinese churches in North America is a big harvest field with great opportunity, but not enough workers, we also see many other needs in the world. We believe that more cross cultural missionaries, either as missionaries/pastors or as tent-making Christian professionals, must be raised up and sent to the fields. And we seriously pray that God will call and send many of these workers from members of FICCC.
We encourage and support members to go to mission conferences and to short-term missions so that they could know better God's heart for mission, and that they could discern better how God wants them to be part of His plan for world evangelism.
We desire to provide quality Christian education.
FICCC is in the process of making disciples who make disciples of Jesus Christ. We will continue to make it a priority because we firmly believe that Christians should be constantly learning and equipping themselves so that they could be better used by God to do His works.
We encourage Christians to attend our discipleship groups with the attitude of not only to learn for their own understanding and growth but also to learn how they could use God's word to minister to others in the future.