Soong-Chan Rah

Rev. Dr. Soong-Chan Rah is the Milton B. Engebretson associate professor of church growth and evangelism at North Park Theological Seminary in Chicago and the author of The Next Evangelicalism: Freeing the Church from Western Cultural Captivity (IVP Books, 2009) and Many Colors: Cultural Intelligence for a Changing Church (Moody, 2010). Read more from him at www.profrah.com.

Soong-Chan is formerly the founding senior pastor of the Cambridge Community Fellowship Church (CCFC)—a multiethnic, urban ministry-focused church committed to living out the values of racial reconciliation and social justice in the urban context. Soong-Chan has previously been part of a church planting team in the Washington, D.C. area, worked for a number of years with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship in Boston (specifically at MIT), and mobilized CCFC to plant two additional churches. He currently serves on the boards of World Vision, Sojourners, the Christian Community Development Association (CCDA), and the Catalyst Leadership Center.

He has extensive experience in cross-cultural preaching, especially on numerous college campuses. Soong-Chan was a plenary speaker at several conferences and gatherings: the 2003 Urbana Student Missions Conference, 2005 Summer Institute for Asian American Ministry and Theology, 2006 Congress on Urban Ministry, the 2007 Evangelical Covenant Church Midwinter Conference, 2007 Urban Youth Workers Institute Conference, 2008 CCDA National Conference, 2009 Cornerstone Festival, 2010 Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (GCTS) National Preaching Conference, and 2011 Disciples of Christ General Assembly.

Soong-Chan received his bachelor’s in political science and history/sociology from Columbia University; his Master of Divinity degree from GCTS; his Master of Theology degree from Harvard University; and his Doctor of Ministry degree from GCTS. He’s currently in the doctor of theology program at Duke University.

Soong-Chan and his wife Sue, who teaches special education, live with their two children Annah and Elijah in Chicago.

Posts By This Author

Is the Emerging Church for Whites Only?

To survive in a quickly diversifying global church, the emerging church movement must do a better job of opening up its doors -- and pursuing justice.
STILLFX / Shutterstock

STILLFX / Shutterstock

AT THE TURN of the millennium, I (Soong-Chan) began hearing a lot about the “emerging church.” It seemed that everywhere I turned somebody was talking about the emerging church. A clear definition of the term was elusive (see “What is the Emerging Church?” by Julie Clawson, below), but the emerging church seemed to reflect ministry and theology rising out of the generation after the baby boomers. In particular, the emerging church was Western Christianity’s attempt to navigate through the context of an emerging postmodern culture.

At the time the emerging church was coming into vogue, I was pastoring a multi-ethnic, urban church plant in the Boston area. It seemed that every brochure for nearly every pastors’ conference I received featured the emerging church. As I began to attend some of those conferences, I noticed that every single speaker who claimed to represent the emerging church was a white male. A perception was forming that this was a movement and conversation occurring only in the white community.
 In terms of the public face of the emerging church, white males dominated.
On one occasion, I was at an emerging church conference and was told directly that non-whites were not of any significance in the emerging church. Granted, this was one specific instance, but it led to the sense that the emerging church was not a welcoming place for ethnic minorities. At another conference, on the future of the church, one of the speakers invited up a blond-haired, 29-year-old, white male, replete with cool glasses and a goatee, and pronounced him the face of the emerging church. “This guy is a great representative of the future of American Christianity.” I cringed. In terms of the public face of the emerging church, white males dominated. It seemed like the same old, same old. As per the lyrics by The Who: “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”

Why Outsider Critiques are Important for Emergent

by Soong-Chan Rah 04-12-2010

Avatar and The Blind Side: The Never-ending Messianic Complex Story

by Soong-Chan Rah 01-13-2010

The last two movies that my wife and I had the chance to watch were Avatar and The Blind Side. Not sure how that happened, but both movies had very rich missiological and race themes to them. Or maybe I just see everything in that way.

Joint Response to Zondervan and Deadly Viper Authors from Asian American Leaders

by Soong-Chan Rah 11-23-2009
To Mike Foster and Jud Wilhite, and the leaders of Zondervan Publishing,

Some Final Reflections on Deadly Viper and Zondervan

by Soong-Chan Rah 11-20-2009
Mike Foster, Jud Wilhite, and Zondervan acted in a decisive manner yesterday. Zondervan issued a statement that boldly declared their intention to pull the book off the shelves.

Tremendous Act of Repentance by Zondervan

by Soong-Chan Rah 11-20-2009
Zondervan Statement Regarding Concerns Voiced About Deadly Viper: Character Assassins from Moe Girkins, President and CEO:

Hello and thanks for your patience.

The Deadly Viper Conversation Moves from Authors to Publisher

by Soong-Chan Rah 11-09-2009
Last Friday, a group of Asian-American leaders (Kathy Khang, IVCF / Eugene Cho, Quest Church / Ken Fong, Evergreen Baptist Church and I) were on a conference call with three executives of Zondervan

Deadly Viper: Personal Apologies and Power Structures

by Soong-Chan Rah 11-06-2009
Without trying to be too presumptuous about the resolution of an ongoing story, I'm doing some personal reflection on the last few days.

The Deadly Viper Conversation: 'We're sorry. We didn't know. We want to learn. How do we do that?'

by Soong-Chan Rah 11-05-2009
Wednesday afternoon I was part of a conversation with the authors of Deadly Viper (and Chris Huertz) and a number of Asian-American leaders.

How Deadly Viper Character Assassins Undermines its Message with Co-opted Culture

by Soong-Chan Rah 11-04-2009
An open letter to Zondervan and to Mike Foster and Jud Wilhite, authors of Deadly Viper Character Assassin: A Kung Fu Survival Guide for Life and Leadership.

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