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25th Korean Council meeting to focus on Acts 1:8, WMU

WHEATON, Ill. (BP)–Members from the Southern Baptist Convention’s 750-plus Korean churches will meet on the campus of Wheaton College June 19-22 for the 25th annual gathering of the Council of Korean Southern Baptist Churches in America.

Council leaders decided last year to break with tradition and not meet in conjunction with the annual meeting of the SBC, in order to have the largest-number possible attend the Korean annual meeting. The council set the date so that people could also attend the SBC’s annual meeting.

“We are so grateful to be part of the Southern Baptist Convention,” said Tae Hwan “Timothy” Park, executive director of the Korean Council and a church planting strategist for the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware. “Southern Baptists help Korean Baptist churches in America, in church planting and church growing and even in its mission-minded emphasis that every church be a missionary church. We serve God together with all Southern Baptists in global missions.”

Several leaders who pioneered work among Korean immigrants in the U.S. will be honored at the council’s annual gathering. The four-day program also includes an emphasis on the Acts 1:8 Challenge and Woman’s Missionary Union, plus an afternoon of soccer and other fellowship activities.

Guest speakers include Dong Sup “Andrew” Chung, of Daejon, South Korea. He taught counseling psychology and Christian family life at Korea Baptist Theological Seminary in Taejon for 18 years, before in 2002 becoming president of Family Relations Research Institute in Daejon.

Other guest speakers include Nate Adams, executive director of the Illinois State Baptist Association; Se Kyu Chang, pastor of Hanbit Global Mission Church in northern Virginia; and eight wives of Korean pastors who attended national WMU events.

“I am so very excited about that one [the WMU wives],” Park said. “It is the first time for that type of program. The main focus is [that] pastors must be understanding the WMU program in local churches.”

Among those invited to participate in the 25th anniversary celebration on Monday, June 19, are Daniel M. Kim, founding pastor of Los Angeles’ Berendo Street Baptist Church, which is known today as the “mother church” for most of the 780 or so Korean churches in the U.S. Berendo Street also started several Korean churches in South America.

Other invitees: Pastor Tommy Shon, formerly of First Korean Baptist Church in Dallas, and now in an East Asian nation; Dan Moon, who for 32 years pioneered Korean work across the SBC from his post at the then-Home Mission Board; Ho Kil Kang, the first Korean worker at the then-Sunday School Board; Joe Hernandez, a language worker at HMB still involved in church planting through the North American Mission Board; Robert Goette, now working in the Chicago Metro Baptist Association, who started the first English Ministry in a Korean church in the SBC; plus Jacob and Poong Ja Chin, the first Korean career missionaries in the SBC — their assignment: Japan.

“We want to recognize these who paved the way,” Park said. “For the last 25 years they [have helped] Korean churches grow in every area.”

The council is also looking to the future. Chang, the pastor of Hanbit Global Mission Baptist Church in northern Virginia, was selected as a guest speaker in part because of his age, Park said.

“He’s young … [and is] doing a good job in northern Virginia and in many areas,” the executive director said. “He’s some kind of preacher.”

Even before Nate Adams became the executive director of the Illinois State Baptist Association, the council asked him to bring the Acts 1:8 Challenge to Koreans.

“When I worked at the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware, my main concern [was] how Korean churches linked to the convention or association,” said Park, who is a church planting strategist for BCMD. “The problem is [many of] our Korean Baptist churches still cannot understand what’s going on [and how to relate to the SBC].”

Koreans are focused on evangelism and missions, Park said, adding that he is “very impressed” with the Acts 1:8 Challenge.

The Korean Council annual meeting is to open at 6 p.m. Monday, June 19, with a Korean dinner at Wheaton College. The program is scheduled to start at 7 o’clock that night. In previous years, Tuesday afternoon was left open for Koreans to participate in the annual meeting of the SBC; this year there will be soccer and related fellowship activities instead.

Music will be led by a mass choir of people from Chicago area Korean Southern Baptist churches.

Ki Tak Kim, pastor of Korean Baptist Church of Sonoma County, Calif., is president of the Council of Korean Southern Baptist Churches in America; Seong Bin Park, pastor of Korean Baptist Church of Memphis, Tenn., is first vice president; Daniel Jung Ha Kim, pastor of Central Baptist Church in Itaska, Ill., is second vice president; Huyn Muk Im, pastor of Lifeway Church in Bethesda, Md., is general secretary.