Contextualizing and Testing the BELLS Model in a Missional Community in a Canadian Diaspora Chinese Church
Gary Yigong Chen D.Min.
This portfolio aims to find a practical and effective way to increase missional awareness in the congregants at Toronto RenAi Chinese Christian Church and inspire them to be more active participants in this objective. This portfolio is composed of three major parts: a Personal Narrative and Ministry Context (Chapter 2), a Philosophy of Christian Leadership (Chapter 3), and a Field Ministry Project (Chapter 4). In Chapter 2, the author uses a narrative approach to describe how becoming a Christian not only profoundly changed his worldview and values but also focused his leadership philosophy from being power-based to service-based. In Chapter 3, through a literature review, the author elaborates on what servant leadership really means and argues that it should be a distinguishing feature of Christian leaders. In Chapter 4, the author explores whether or not the hands-on inquiry learning of the BELLS model in a missional Chinese church community context increased both participants’ missional awareness and the church’s willingness to reach people with the gospel in a culturally appropriate way. This exploration was conducted through a series of in-person and online gatherings, interviews, and weekly practices of BELLS in a missional community format. The author uses the BELLS model, the missional community strategies, and his own ecclesiology, missiology, and Christian leadership philosophy to guide the entire research project. Qualitative research data was collected and analyzed through interviews with seven participants, weekly DNA (Discipleship, Nurture, Accountability) Forms, and the author’s own participatory observations during in-person gatherings and online discussions. The results of the research project indicated that the practice of the BELLS model helped increase most of the participants’ missional awareness and passion for evangelizing their Chinese compatriots. It also helped most of them to live out their belief in the cultural context of the Chinese diaspora.