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Gatecrashing a Bali Wedding

Missional Cafe Communities in Asia

"Why are people so upset at the emerging church?", Tim Wong asked me last night over a mango juice at a Balinese party.

We didn't have time to plummet the jelloed depths of EC criticism, although I do enjoy the subject. But we did discuss cafe churches and how they have evolved from cheesy church-basement services in the 80's [GUILTY AS CHARGED] to state-of-the-art, Über-Funky couch-clad temples of Java and Bible that they have now aspired to. Even here in Asia. Particularly in Asia, where cafe churches are sometimes accompanied by coffee roasteries, coffee bean farming, and associated businesses.

Cafe church coffee

The emerging church in Asia has been an inspiration to me for a long time. I have been greatly sharpened by the holistic Christian ashrams in India, the alternative Christian house-parties in Japan, the underground youth churches in China, and the micro-business social-enterprise based churches in Indonesia that I met a decade ago. And of course the cafe churches which are found all over Asia.

But Singapore has escaped my attention. I haven't been to SIngapore for 2 decades and a lot has changed since the cell-church movement here was commanding attention in the 90's.

Until last night. I was thrilled to hear that Tim and his friends, mostly Christian businesspeople, have been starting cafe churches in Singapore and now in other Asian countries.

Our vision is to "see as many missional cafes as there Starbucks outlets (17,000 and counting) across South East Asia and beyond, in the next 30 years." Tim Wong

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