The Bamboo Pastors Podcast

Pastors Jalon Chan and Jon Mann have joked that their podcast started with a low ceiling. Their original intent for The Bamboo Pastors Podcast was to rate the different congregational lunches that their respective churches served. Had they gone that route, I doubt they’d still be putting out new episodes almost four years later. Instead, the podcast “explores the joys and challenges of being English-speaking pastors in the Chinese church” and has done so with intention, candor, and a dash of humor.

Like many podcasts, TBPP was a pandemic baby, and Chan and Mann used this medium as a way to connect—Mann serving as the college and young adult pastor of San Jose Chinese Alliance Church and Chan serving as the English Pastor of Chinese Christian Fellowship Church in Wilmette, Ill. Along the way, they’ve highlighted a diverse array of ministries, an obvious highlight of the show. They’ve had guests who serve in Chinese church contexts across the nation, from Los Angeles to Boston, and episodes that featured guests from Canada and Australia.

In March 2023, Mann and Chan partnered with the SOLA Network—a digital platform that seeks to lift the voices of Asian American evangelical leaders—and increased their publicity and exposure. My favorite episode aired earlier this year in January, featuring Hanley Liu, the English Lead Pastor at First Chinese Baptist Church in Walnut, Calif., and a member of the SOLA Network Council. Along with discussing his role in the SOLA Network, Hanley also spoke candidly (graciously) about the differences he has noticed between the way Korean leaders and Chinese leaders operate and lead. As a Korean American pastor who is serving in a Chinese Heritage Church, I found this particular conversation enlightening as I’m currently learning and adapting to a new cultural landscape.

On a broader scale, TBPP is a perfect example of the need for representation from what might have been considered a niche audience in the past. While they might have started the podcast as a fun way to rate meals, Jalon Chan and Jon Mann have been innovators in their own right, unintentional trailblazers serving God’s people from their respective corners of the kingdom.

Previous ArticleNext Article