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730 Korean Southern Baptists hold annual session in Nashville

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–A new president, executive director and increased budget due to the purchase of a headquarters building were among matters addressed during the annual meeting of the Council of Korean Southern Baptists in America, held in conjunction with the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting.

More than 730 people registered for the sessions at Forest Hills Baptist Church in Nashville after pre-registrations made it obvious that first a hotel and then the Tennessee Baptist Convention building space would be inadequate. The attendance was about 100 more than last year.

“It is more every year,” said Choi Chi Lee, outgoing executive director of the organization encompassing 761 congregations. “We all want to work together with the Southern Baptist Convention, and include our baptisms, include our church planting, include our participation in global missions. That’s the idea: to build together; to work together.”

The three-day event included reports from the Korean council’s six areas of ministry — home missions, foreign missions, education, WMU, Brotherhood, English ministry; a five-part seminar that depicted different preaching styles; addresses by Robert E. (Bob) Reccord, president of the North American Mission Board, and Jerry Rankin, president of the International Mission Board; and guest preaching from Hyun Mo Lee, missions professor from Korean Baptist Theological Seminary in South Korea.

“It was the first time in the four years I’ve been executive director that Dr. Rankin and Dr. Reccord were here,” Lee said. “We appreciate the recognition.”

A new ministry resource, “Sharing Evangelism,” was introduced at the meeting. Written in Korean by four Korean pastors — Dennis Manpoong Kim, David Gill, Sung Gun Park and David In Hwa Park — the project was coordinated by Jason Kim in NAMB’s multicultural evangelism section and published by NAMB.

A women’s conference covered WMU and the needs of pastors’ wives. At a nearby hotel, youth took a fresh look at their parents, and youngsters participated in a full spectrum of age-specific activities.

Thirteen area Korean churches made the local arrangements, which included four expansive Korean meals cooked each time for 700 to 850 people.

The organization’s name received a slight modification: What had been “in North America” was changed to “in America” at the request of Korean Baptists in Latin America, who want to be included in the membership. They were years ago, but at some point the name was changed to limit membership to just to the United States and Canada.

“We began to see the vision,” Lee said. “Already we have many missions with Koreans in Latin America. Now we go back to what we were years ago. We have reunited and become one.”

Ki Tak Kim, pastor of Korean Baptist Church of Sonoma County, Calif., was elected council president; Seong Bin Park, pastor of Korean Baptist Church of Memphis, Tenn., was elected first vice president; Daniel Jung Ha Kim, pastor of Central Baptist Church, Itaska, Ill., second vice president; Huyn Muk Im, pastor of Lifeway Church, Bethesda, Md., general secretary. Timothy Tae Hwan Park, a church planting missionary in the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware, was elected executive director, a four-year post.

Outgoing Executive Director Lee received boots and a cowboy hat as well as a plaque of appreciation for his four years of service, which included the purchase this spring of a 4,000-square-foot headquarters building in Lewisville, Texas. Outgoing President Dennis Manpoong Kim, pastor of Global Mission Church in Silver Spring, Md., also received a certificate of appreciation from Korean council members as did the Southern Baptist Convention’s outgoing second vice president, David Gill, pastor of Concord Korean Baptist Church in Martinez, Calif.

The $243,000 budget for 2005-06 includes a $14,000 increase from last year to help provide for payment of the headquarters building. Last year, $77,000 was given from 45 churches for home missions; $215,000 from 55 churches for foreign missions. For the most part, the 761 Korean churches in the SBC give $10 or $20 a month to the Korean council, Lee said.

“This is in addition to what the churches give to the SBC Cooperative Program,” Lee said. “In some areas — specific cultural areas — we find we can take care of it better than the general support given by the Southern Baptist Convention.”

For logistical reasons, the Korean council will break with tradition in 2006 and not meet for its annual meeting in the same city as the SBC. Council members voted to meet in Chicago June 28-30. Greensboro, N.C., does not have a meeting space large enough for the council that is not being used by other SBC entities, and there aren’t enough nearby churches to handle the task of preparing the meals, Lee explained.
With translation provided by David Sung Eun Choi, pastor of Bridge Community Church in Nashville, Tenn.