Loneliness among Chinese Emerging Adults in America and the Role of the Church: A Practical Theology Inquiry

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This study seeks to explore how Chinese ethnic churches in the United States can faithfully respond to the migrant Chinese emerging adults around them, in light of the significant degree of perceived loneliness among these migrants. The study is explicitly bound to a four-stage practical theology method, and it engages in the praxis-theory-praxis cycle using a mixed methods research design. After carefully examining the current practices of American Chinese ethnic churches and thoroughly exploring the context of the surrounding migrant Chinese emerging adults, I have proposed a new paradigm for discipleship based on insights derived from the work of Michael Wilkin, Stanley Grenz and Miroslov Volf. I have named this paradigm “participatory discipleship”, which I define as “the process of learning to live a fully human life in union with Christ, mediated by the Spirit, through participating in the community of disciples (the church) moving toward God’s eschatological kingdom”. This new paradigm for discipleship urges American Chinese churches to rework their definition of discipleship, calls them to participate in God’s mission, creates a space of mutual edification and appreciation for people of different generations and cultures, invites older adults to participate in the lives of younger adults, and pushes the churches to develop a fuller understanding of themselves as community.

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Theology (PhD in Theology)

First Advisor

Clark, Chapman

Document Type





Chinese American churches, Cultural assimilation, Church work with Asian Americans, Church work with immigrants, Missions


Missions and World Christianity


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