Singing God’s Truth in the 1.5 Generation Chinese American Way

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The rapid emergence of 1.5 generation Chinese American culture presents new and challenging missiological opportunities particularly as it relates to the utilization of music in communicating the Truth of God. This study examines Chinese music culture in order to foster the production of appropriate Chinese Christian worship music among the 1.5 generation Chinese American youths especially as a tool for gospel proclamation.

The study employs qualitative research methods utilizing one-on-one interviews, focus groups and participant observation and incorporates quantitative research through the use of an online questionnaire. All the research was done primarily in the Los Angeles area or through the usage of Internet technology. Triangulation was necessary to ensure the same trends and conclusions from these different methods. The research employs consistent and logical analysis of the data collected.

Prior to field research, literature in the areas of ethnomusicology, biblical teaching, and missiology provided ideas critical to the research and analysis. Especially relevant to the research is identity formulation through music in the area of Ethnomusicology, King's transactional music communication theory which crosses both fields of Missiology and Ethnomusicology and enabled data analysis through the lenses of both fields, and Hiebert, Shaw and Tiènou's idea of critical contextualization in the field of Missiology which helped in guiding the research process from beginning to end.

The results of the research data and analysis point to two major findings: there is a gap between Christians and non-Christians in their music cultures; their musical exposures are mostly through the college years and through family and friends. That is they access music through the radio, TV series, and movies. There is also a common usage of technology and the Internet, and social events center more around food instead of music.

I propose the following steps: bring awareness and share the need for ethnic identity formation among Asian Americans, facilitate and encourage Asian Americans in the song writing process, and share the new songs. I look forward to the day when there will be a unique expression of the Asian American theology through music.

Mentors: Roberta King and Shelley Trebesch

Degree Name

Doctor of Intercultural Studies (DIS)

First Advisor

King, Roberta

Document Type





Chinese Americans, Asian American churches, Ethnomusicology


Missions and World Christianity


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