Harvest Mission International

Frequently Asked Questions

This list of “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQ) is to answer the many questions and concerns about the start of HMCC of Hong Kong. With every major decision, the church leadership wants to do everything possible to clearly communicate God’s purpose and direction. It is important that God’s people understand God’s heart for our community of faith.

In order to bring some clarity, this FAQ is divided into three categories (the Strategy, the Structure, and the Support). Under each category, various questions will be addressed as best as possible within this limited space. If you have more questions or need some clarification, please talk with any of the pastors or your LIFE group leader.

As we look into the future, we are humbled and amazed that God would entrust us with something so precious as spreading the Gospel to the ends of the earth. This is an exciting time for our community. We want to continue to live out the vision of transforming lives and transforming the world, as we endeavor to reach college campuses, communities, cities, countries, and continents, for Jesus Christ. It is our hope and prayer that Jesus, who alone is worthy of all the glory and honor will be exalted in our lives.

Questions about the STRATEGY

There are several factors that led us to the decision to plant a church in Hong Kong. First, in the last several years, we have seen God bring a lot of Hong Kong and Chinese students to our church. Many of them came to place their faith in Jesus Christ and there were talks about seeing an HMCC church in their home country and cities.

Secondly, within the 9 major universities in Hong Kong, there are close to 18-20% mainland Chinese students (in the graduate schools there are well over 50%). In order to reach China, it will be very strategic to reach this large population of students.

Thirdly, Hong Kong is known as the “gateway city” for China. It is also a major international hub for all of Asia. If we can reach Hong Kong with the Gospel, then we will be positioned to reach other cities in China and nations in the surrounding areas.

It has been HMCC’s vision and mission to start communities of faith in or near college campuses in global cities. Therefore, with the incredible opportunity to reach mainland Chinese students in the major Hong Kong universities, it is consistent with what we have been doing with the other HMCC churches around the world.

Secondly, we have talked about the 2020 vision and how we want to see 10 churches planted in the future. By starting this church in Hong Kong, it will be a part of the greater 2020 vision.

Thirdly, since Hong Kong is a global city, there will be many single adults and families. We have always believed that in order to transform a city, we have to reach not only the college students but also people who are in the different spheres of society. It is very similar to how our Community ministry has developed over the years in our local HMCC churches. With the opportunities to engage the post-college people and families in Hong Kong, HMCC will be able to reach more people with the Gospel.

We will initially target four groups of people. Our first target group will be the 3rd culture people – alumni who are back in Hong Kong or about to graduate and head back to Hong Kong. For those people who are already plugged into a church, we will encourage them to stay committed in their community. But if some of them have yet to find a church community, we will invite them to join ours.

The second group will be students in the universities. We will first start off with the three major universities in Hong Kong – Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK); Hong Kong University (HKU) and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST).

The third group of people will be the expatriates living in Hong Kong. Many of them are working single adults, as well as family who are from various nationalities. Since some of the people on the church plant team will be expatriates, there will be a connection with the expatriate community.

Lastly, it is our prayer that we will be able to eventually reach out to local Hong Kong people. This will probably take some time as we train and disciple the 3rd culture people (Hong Kong people who lived overseas and are now back), but this is something that we believe in as part of our strategy.

Even though there are many good churches in Hong Kong, there is no singular church that can reach out to all the people. Hong Kong is a diverse city, therefore in order to reach out to this global city, we need more diverse churches in the area. We feel that with the specific vision that God has given to HMCC in reaching college campuses, in order to reach communities, cities, countries, and continents, we would be able to contribute to the greater work of world evangelism with a unique emphasis.

Secondly, there has been a lot of momentum the last couple of years. Some of the Hong Kong students from HMCC-AA and HMCC-CHI have gathered together as a LIFE Group during the summer breaks. Also, Hong Kong students have gathered on their own to pray for their city and a possible church plant in the future.

Thirdly, there aren’t many churches that are specifically focused on the mainland Chinese students at the major universities in Hong Kong. This is a harvest field that God is calling us to reach. In many ways, it will be similar to how HMCC churches reach out to international students in other sites. This is a specific and small role we will play in God’s greater purpose.

Another significant piece in our HMCC vision is to connect all of our churches together so that it becomes a network of churches working in conjunction with what is going on in all the other sites. Specifically, as a Hong Kong student attends an HMCC church outside of Hong Kong, they can come back during the breaks and participate in the HMCC-HK church knowing that they will return to the same church once they graduate. Therefore, there is a sense of continuity within their time overseas and when they return.

For many years, God placed a burden and a vision to Pastor Seth for reaching China. As he has been faithful to God’s call to Ann Arbor for the last 17+ years, Pastor Seth is now sensing the call to obey the vision that God has placed on his heart ever since 2002.

This will be an indefinite move to Hong Kong, rather than a year commitment that they did in Jakarta. The reason is because of the open doors that God is giving to HMCC at this time. Also, over the years, God has been putting an increased burden in Pastor Seth’s heart to reach China with the Gospel. Since Hong Kong is a strategic city to reach China, the need to plant a church there is significant.

Back in April 2010, Pastor Seth and Christina prayed about their future. They felt that once the kids were all off to college that God would call them to Asia. But then in October 2012, on one of Pastor Seth’s trip out to Hong Kong, God placed a burden on his heart to start HMCC-HK in the near future.

Then in the start of 2013, Pastor Seth shared the vision with the Board of Directors and the HMCC Global pastors. They joined in prayer along with Pastor Seth. In the subsequent months, Pastor Seth and the church leadership sought counsel with the Board of Advisors to gain greater insights and wisdom from their perspective. Finally, after the leadership was in agreement, in July 2013, Pastor Seth and his family made the final decision to move out to Hong Kong to start HMCC-HK.

Questions about the STRUCTURE

Tentatively, we are planning to officially send the team out during the summer of 2015. The official launch of the church is still up in the air; but the earliest we might be able to start is in September 2015.

Yes. In the near future, there will be a call out meeting for anyone who is interested in participating in the church plant. Then there will be an application process throughout the months of January and February 2014. Then in February/March 2014, a church planting team will be selected.

No. The church planting team will be formed through the application process. But if Hong Kong students are planning on going back to Hong Kong after graduation, they are welcomed to join the church once it gets started. However, they will not be considered as part of the “church planting team.”

Anyone who is a covenant signing member and is actively involved in a HMCC site can apply to be a part of the church plant team. But each applicant will be reviewed carefully. If an applicant is not from HMCC-AA but from another HMCC site, then they will need a recommendation from their site pastor(s).

Yes. They will have to go through the application process like everyone else.

It will be a thorough application process. First, there will be an application form that everyone will need to fill out. Secondly, there will be recommendation forms that will be turned in from your LIFE Group leaders and your site pastor(s). Thirdly, there will be a follow up interview with each applicant. Then finally, a decision will be made.

We are asking people for a minimal two year commitment. This is preferable because it usually takes a year or more to adjust to a new culture. Also, the relational impact is greater when more time is invested. But in certain cases, there might be a possibility of just making a one year commitment.

Structurally, there will be two layers of leadership for Pastor Seth. First, Pastor Seth will help start and lead the church in Hong Kong. Secondly, he will always give leadership and direction for the HMCC movement on a global level.

We are planning on taking some leaders to help with the initial start of the church. Then eventually, new leaders will be raised up in the HMCC-HK context to help with the leadership of the church.

Pastor Pete will be leading the HMCC-AA site. There will still be the Board of Directors, the Executive Team and the TEAM Community leaders to help with the administration of the church.

Since the actual transition will happen in two years, there are clear plans for preparing the church. It is the staff’s desire to establish HMCC-AA into a strong church so that the transition will go as smoothly as possible. There are proposals to develop more leaders, servants and even future pastors to help strengthen the ministry in Ann Arbor.

Yes. If they want to join later, some of the application process will be the same.

Questions about the SUPPORT

At this point, we are in the process of finding out specific information related to the living cost and other startup cost. One thing to note is that Hong Kong is one of the most expensive cities to live in, therefore there will be a higher level of cost involved than in other church plants.

The philosophy of HMCC when it comes to supporting church plants is: a) Fully fund the pastor and his family for the 1st year; b) Then in the 2nd year cut the support to 50%; c) In the 3rd year cut the support to 25%. It is our hope that a church plant can be fully funded on its own by the 4th year. But there are many startup costs involved in any church plant that are not related to the living cost for the 1st year – i.e. plane tickets, moving costs, initial housing deposits, rental of church facilities, equipment, etc. Therefore, there will be some fundraising that will be done in order to raise additional support to launch the church.

We are trying to make this church plant into a collaborative effort; therefore, if there are some people who are interested in being part of this church plant, they will have to go through the application process.

Once again, we are trying start this church with the joint efforts of all the HMCC churches. Therefore, in the short-term process, the other HMCC churches can get involved in 3 ways: 1) Pray for this church plant; 2) Give financially to the startup cost; 3) Share the vision and spread the word to other people. In the long-term, we are praying that there will be members from other HMCC churches who will pray about going to Hong Kong for a year or even longer to be a part of what God is doing in Asia. Lastly, with all our international church plants, we are hoping to send missions teams to participate in what God is doing in Hong Kong and China.

Besides prayer and spreading the word of this church plant, if some of you feel led to give financially to this work, please make checks out to “Harvest Mission International” and note that it is for HMCC of Hong Kong. Another way to support the church plant is to let us know of any connections you have with people in Hong Kong. We are fully aware that when a person has connections in Asia, it becomes an open door for things to get established. Therefore, if you know of people who are involved in various spheres like the government, churches, real estate, education, etc., please connect us with them. It will be a huge blessing.