Erich and Kelley’s ministry in Taiwan
Challenges we face
- Taiwan’s working-class population is only about 0.5% Christian, and definitely an unreached people group.
- Other major missionary groups (such as OMF) are also re-focusing their efforts in Taiwan to reach the working class.
- Our working-class friends often use Taiwanese, not Mandarin Chinese, in their daily life. The two languages are quite different.
- The working-class culture in Taiwan can be described in these terms: fun-loving, hard-working, collectivist, traditional, superstitious, less educated, laid-back, but not necessarily poor.
In the past 20 years, Christianity has begun to ‘go mainstream’ and flourish among Taiwan’s middle- and upper-class. This is due in part to their higher level of education (lower barrier of entry to reading the Bible), higher income (allowing them to take Sundays off for church), and other factors. However, the Christian church in Taiwan has still not presented itself to our working class friends in a way that is meaningful or inviting. For example, most working class people can’t afford to take weekends off work, making Sunday morning worship attendance near impossible. Further, most church services are held in Mandarin, and rely on a high level of Mandarin reading skills, which few working class people possess. These, and many other factors, make them feel like Christianity is a foreign religion, far removed from their lives.
To bring the church into people’s everyday lives through starting a Gospel Coffee shop.
In the Fall of 2016, our young church plant merged with the Aroma church, which was started by other missionaries several years prior, and meets for Sunday services inside the Aroma Christian Coffee House. Most local Taiwanese people are wary of entering a Christian church, but are very open to attending Christian gatherings in a neutral space like the Aroma coffee shop. Lord willing, 2017 will see the 2nd Aroma coffee house open in the local neighborhood where we live, providing a vital hub for outreach and church life. For updates on this Kingdom venture, please follow the Wan Hua Gospel Coffee Shop Facebook page.
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