Category Archives: korean

7 suggestions for English ministry in ethnic churches

Pastor Joshua Kang of Lakeview Church (Chicago) presented 7 suggestions for a fruitful English ministry in a workshop to Korean pastors at the Evangelical Covenant denomination‘s Midwinter conference. Here are his 7 suggestions:

  1. View English Ministry as a church-plant in the mission field, rather than considering it as just another department within the first generation church.
  2. Treat the 2nd generations with the expectation that God will use them greatly in the future, rather than looking down on them for their present immaturity.
  3. Invite a full-time pastor for the EM, and invest in his/her growth as a leader/pastor first before expecting immediate growth of the EM.
  4. Create an ideal situation for the growth of EM, while challenging them to grow in their sense of ownership and responsibilities.
  5. Put spiritual goals before cultural goals.
  6. Allow EM to establish their own ministry goals and strategies, and encourage them to grow toward independence.
  7. Launch EM as an independent church in due time, and have both churches commit to the vision of planting more churches.

You may read his entire workshop notes in Korean – view on-screen or download PDF (Korean font needed). Posted with permission.

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A Heart for Canadian Koreans

This excerpt from the NAMB article, A Heart for Canadian Koreans, describes new Korean churches being planted in Canada::


… Baptists in Canada are being encouraged by visionary missions leaders. Pastor Ben Choi, a Korean pastor in Victoria, British Columbia, is one such leader.

No one can deny God’s call in his life. Upon graduating with a doctorate in Business Administration in 1994, Choi became a professor at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. Shortly thereafter, another pastor and Pastor Choi combined their efforts to start All Nations Baptist Church in Montreal. When that other pastor moved to Victoria to work among a First Nation people group, Pastor Choi enrolled at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Upon graduating, Choi answered the call to return to Canada to pastor the Victoria Korean Baptist Church.

“I first said no because my vision was to plant churches,” Choi commented. “After several weeks of prayer, I agreed with a new vision: to pastor a church which plants churches.”

Choi is leading his church to plant 100 new churches and baptize 10,000 souls. Choi led his church to partner with the North American Mission Board and the Canadian Convention of Southern Baptists.

In addition to being a visionary leader with a clear call, Choi has remained faithful to his missions calling:

  • Every Sunday, eight young adult members of VKBC help a Tsawout people group church in their children’s ministry.
  • In August, 2007, a new church plant was launched in Victoria.
  • VKBC is partnering with other Korean churches to start a new Korean church plant located east of Vancouver.
  • VKBC is also working with Korean ministers to equip other people group leaders for God’s ministry.
  • Choi was the first Korean pastor to excitedly say yes when invited to participate in the Vision Tour Toronto.

And meanwhile, the Victoria church is growing. The average attendance has grown from 50 to 100 Canadian Koreans since he arrived two years ago.

Praise the Lord for raising up called-out visionary missions leaders like Ben Choi in answer to the prayers of His saints. To God be the glory that He is encouraging and refreshing the Canadian Baptists to continue the work to which He is calling them.


Korean church crosses cultural lines

The NAMB (North American Mission Board) featured Berendo Street Baptist Church in Los Angeles in this article, Korean church crosses cultural lines::

Once considered the “mother church” of all Southern Baptist Korean congregations, today Berendo Street Baptist Church of Koreatown, Los Angeles, is reaching cross-culturally and building bridges for other people groups to come to know Christ.

Susumu Miyagawa, a native of Japan, started attending Berendo Street with his Korean-born wife. After he had been baptized, trained and ordained by Berendo Street, he started two Japanese churches in the Glendale, California, area before moving to Lake Elsinore and starting Gospel Siloam Church in connection with a hotel that includes bubbling hot springs. Bathhouses are very popular in Japan for their physical and spiritual healing. Miyagawa uses this to evangelize nonbelievers—the hot springs a metaphor to illustrate the need for spiritual renewal in Christ.

In addition to the Japanese church in Lake Elsinore, Berendo Street also sponsors on-site Hispanic and Chinese-Korean congregations as part of its global missions commitment.

… Located in what is still known as Koreatown, the area west of Interstate 5 and north of Interstate 10 has become increasingly multicultural. As Koreans acquired the means, many moved to suburbs. Berendo Street Baptist, however, has no plans to relocate though the church has outgrown its property—the equivalent of 17 city lots (77,000 square feet) on two sides of a residential street. About 2,000 people participate in Sunday morning worship.

As Berendo Street strengthened and matured, they found their place in God’s global plan, says former administrative pastor Yongjae “Christopher” Yim. Since its beginning in 1957, they’ve trained and sent out more than 100 people as pastors and career missionaries. Each summer Berendo Street sends out more than 100 members on short-term mission trips. The church financially supports 25 churches around the world and has adopted a Chinese-Muslim people group.

“By doing this mission work we are participants in the evangelizing of the whole world that God commanded,” Yim says. “Primarily our purpose is Korean but we bow to the people of the community.

“We have to try to understand and meet their culture for effective ministry,” Yim says. “God is a God of variety. They have their own characteristics and distinctives in culture, language and customs but even though we are different, in Christ we can be one family, like brothers and sisters in accord with each other so God is glorified by the cooperative effort.”

Read the full article >>

(also mirrored at onmission.com; plus, related 2003 article, Korean Baptists celebrate missions; 450 commit to overseas service

how the church grew in Korea

In January 2007, Christianity Today reprinted its classic article dated November 23, 1973, titled “What Makes the Korean Church Grow? The simple secrets of its remarkable expansion.” This excerpt shows the magnitude of the Christianity’s growth in South Korea:

… But Korea has one of the fastest-growing churches in the world. Though it is situated squarely between China and Japan and far more recently opened to the Gospel (Protestants are ninety years old, Catholics a century older), Koreans have turned to Christ in unprecedented numbers. It is true that in North Korea Communists have wiped out the organized church, but in South Korea where there is freedom of worship some 10 to 13 percent of the population is now Christian. This makes Christianity the strongest and probably the largest organized religion in the country, outdrawing in fact, if not in dubious religious statistics, both Confucianism with its dwindling social influence and Buddhism with its more religious appeal.

Why has the church grown so spectacularly in Korea? The Christian community there just about doubles every ten years. There are now some three million Korean Christians, and if marginal semi-Christian sects were included, the total would be four million. The growth rate is approximately 9 percent a year, which is four times the rate of population growth in South Korea as a whole.

To answer the “why” question, the article’s author, Samuel H. Moffett, concludes with:

I can only point again to the foundations: the good news according to the Scriptures, the power of the Spirit, the enthusiasm of the witness, faithfulness in adversity, rootage in the national soil, and the providence of God in history.

In a recent conversation with a Korean church leader, we agreed that at its peak, South Korea was an estimated 25% Christian. However, he said that Christianity in South Korea had plateaued and is beginning to decline. One of the reasons cited for this decline was the church’s inability to reach the next generation.

While I do not have quantitative statistics to show this trend, this anecdotal comment does raise a notable concern.

Korean church goes mainstream

OC Register staff writer Jaimee Lynn Fletcher reports on the new multi-ethnic church plant, Crossway Community Church, launched out from Sarang Community Church, reputed to be the largest Korean immigrant church in the nation.

Korean church goes mainstream: Sarang Community Church starts services in Brea.

A Korean-immigrant church is making a home in Brea to develop its first mainstream, multi-ethnic congregation.

Sarang Community Church kicked off the first service of its new church, Crossway Community, at the Curtis Theater on Sept. 23.

Crossway Community Church’s inaugural service drew nearly 500 people and Pastor Steve Choi said he hopes the church’s membership will continue to grow.

“One of our big goals is to reach those outside of our church,” Choi said. “Our motto is ‘A church for all people’, and that’s what we’re hoping to be.”

Sarang, which means “love” in Korean, has 12,000 members and, according to Choi, is the largest Korean-immigrant church in the nation.

The focus of the Anaheim-based church is Korean-speaking members, he said.

There are a few services offered in English, but Crossway is Sarang’s big move to become mainstream, he added.

“We’re doing it backwards in a way,” he said. “Most churches start with English and then offer services in other languages.”

Expanding to Brea is part of a bigger mission for the church. Sarang focuses on three levels of influence – local, regional and international, Choi said.

Regionally, Sarang wants to start offering night services in south Orange County and possibly share its faith with local colleges. Nationally, Sarang works with a seminary school in India.

Crossway Community Church will hold its Christian services at 10:30 a.m. Sundays and eventually will looks to add more services, Choi said.

He added the church is not looking to find a place to build a sanctuary, that’s not its priority.

“We don’t want to spend too much on a building because our focus is on the people,” he said. “We will stay here until, God willing, we grow out of the place.”

See photo of Pastor Steve Choi in the Star Progress edition of the article.

multiethnic church planting fund

In this letter from Henry Koh, Coordinator of Korean Ministries for Mission to North America in the PCA (Presbyterian Church of America), he announced that Sarang Community Church Offers Financial Support to First-Time Multiethnic Church Planters::

… Sarang Community Church of Southern California has set aside $50,000.00 per year to help Korean second generation and other minority church planters–up to $500 per month for the period of 30 months for those who went through church planting assessment and endorsed by the Mission to North America in the PCA. I am praying more churches will start to offer such a fund to help second generation church planters with vision to reach America and the world.

Please let me hear from you if you interested in church planting and want to know about how to take church planting assessment and the procedure to applying for the fund. You may email me at hkoh@pcanet.org or contact me by phone at 678-825-1221.

Read the entire letter for full context. Encouraging to see a church and denomination recognize the potential of second generation Korean and Asian American pastors to reach people of all ethnicities in multiethnic America with the Gospel, and putting real financial support behind this conviction. With $50,000 per year distributed at the rate described above, this amount can support more than 8 church plants at a time.

Chinese and Korean Americans can Learn from Each Other

David Ro shared this at a conference in 2000 that is very informative as a compare and contrast of cultural values between Korean and Chinese people groups. David himself can be considered as a consummate Asian American prototype since he is 1/2 Korean and 1/2 Chinese.

This chart gives an outline of overall data (some outdated by now) along with strengths and weaknesses based on his personal experiences in working with both groups. You may download the chart in PDF format or view it online via scribd.com. (published with permission from author)

Korean Chinese comparison chart