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Asian-American Baptists launching new fellowship

ST. LOUIS (BP) — Asian Americans are launching a national fellowship coordinating the work of the eight Asian groups of the Southern Baptist Convention to advance the Great Commission, said Paul Kim, Asian American relations consultant to the SBC Executive Committee.

Kim will launch the Asian American National Fellowship (AANF) at a dinner June 12 from 5:30–9:30 p.m. in Room 224 of America’s Center, 701 Convention Plaza in St. Louis, in conjunction with the June 14-15 SBC annual meeting.

AANF operates as an arm of the A2CP2 Leadership Network, an acronym for the Asian American Church Planting/Cooperative Program network formed in 2015 to unify church planting and global missions of Asian American Southern Baptists, Kim said.

“[AANF] is to unite all eight Asian fellowships — Korean, Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Cambodian, Lao, Vietnamese, Hmong — into one national fellowship for [the] next generation born in the United States,” he said of the fellowship. “It is to focus on developing leadership among English-speaking [Asian Americans], second generation and beyond, to become leaders in the SBC.

“The other goal is to mobilize more young Asian American pastors and church leaders to participate in the SBC life and leadership role,” he said. “Unless they attend the annual meetings, they would not understand how the SBC works.”

The AANF will not replace the individual Asian fellowships, Kim said, but will work in cooperation with them. While the individual fellowships have their “cultural values, missions and languages,” Kim said, the AANF “will speak English as one body with Asian American identity in keeping their cultural roots.”

While a lot of pastors from earlier generations are comfortable using the native languages, Kim said, many “younger pastors do not understand their parents’ native language. These young people are in the colleges and seminaries already. They have different cultural values and understanding.

“Thus, the English-speaking new national fellowship ought to be established,” Kim said. “Actually it has been long due.”

Ted Lam, senior pastor of Tulsa International Baptist Church in Oklahoma, has agreed to serve as fellowship president for 2016-17. Other officers are vice president Pao Ly, president of the Hmong Baptist National Association in Oakdale, Minn., and general secretary Felix Sermon, a U.S. Army chaplain in Woodbridge, Va., and A2CP2 state coordinator for Maryland, Delaware and Virginia.

In addition to the officers, nine pastors will serve as team members and volunteer coordinators at the state level, assisting Kim when A2CP2 Leadership Network conferences are held in their host states.

SBC President Ronnie Floyd will speak at the fellowship launch dinner, joined by Kim, Lam, Gihwang Shin, Korean/Asian missional church strategist for the International Mission Board; Jeremy Sin, national church planting catalyst for the North American Mission Board; Hoon Im, custom relations language specialist for GuideStone Financial Resources, and Daniel Im, director of church multiplication of LifeWay Christian Resources.

The fellowship meeting will be one of two national annual A2CP2 events, Kim said, the other being the A2CP2 National Conference at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary each April.

Registration is available online through June 5 at a2cp2.org/a2fellowship/.