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Parallel 2

New Expressions of Churches in Hong Kong


Prof. Natalie CHAN


Bethel Bible Seminary

According to the Hong Kong Church Survey 2019 by the Hong Kong Church Renewal Movement, only 18 new Chinese churches were established during the year 2014-2019. Other than church planting by denominations and local churches, new expressions of churches have emerged in the past 5 years. In order to better understand these churches, Ray Bakke Centre conducted a qualitative study in February and March 2021 and interviewed 11 churches that were newly set up in the past 5 years (not church plants from denomination or local churches). We have also interviewed two networks for new churches, to understand how they train and connect new churches and their leaders. Results of the study illustrate the common characteristics of these new forms of churches. These new forms of churches stress on reflecting on the true essence of church including the concept of church without walls. This can be seen through the flexibility in place of gatherings and being intentional in maintaining small and simple structure. Three of the churches we interviewed demonstrated some unique background for reflection and learning. Aspire Church illustrated the model of a traditional church planting a new church by sending leaders out to entirely start anew to serve and outreach specifically to young adults. The birth and growth of Aspire Church captures the walks of new and traditional forms of churches. Secondly, the new marketplace church Simplychurch is the fruit of many years of marketplace ministry, finally established in a new church form in 2021. They meet everyday during lunch time or after work to form different relationships and groups, equip disciple leaders and also send out teams to serve the community, multiply in groups, extend their faith influence and break through the traditional ways of ministries. Lastly, Roundtable Church demonstrates the model of missional communities. Some of their leaders moved into the same building or in the same districts (including Sham Shui Po, Shatin, Fortress Hill etc.), where they live, worship and serve in the neighborhood and communities together. These new expressions of churches give us crucial spiritual reflection and inspiration on the development of churches in our city today. Their works are very encouraging and a great reference to more possibilities and imagination and help us understand God’s heart for the city.


Prof. Natalie Chan is a Professor at Bethel Bible Seminary and mentors a number of doctoral students. Her research and teaching revolves around transformational leadership and city movements. She is also the director of the Ray Bakke Centre for Urban Transformation.

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