DALLAS (BP) — “We have a citizenship in heaven and we are true brothers and sisters in Christ,” D. August Boto told attendees at the National Asian American Fellowship’s June 11 meeting in Dallas.
Boto, interim president of the SBC Executive Committee, said the EC is “available to enhance the way God has gifted you in and through the ministries of the Southern Baptist Convention.”
Paul Kim, the EC’s Asian American relations consultant, presented Roger S. Oldham, EC vice president for convention communications and relations, and Ken Weathersby, vice president for convention advancement, with awards of appreciation for their continued support for the National Asian American Fellowship.
Oldham, in addressing the fellowship’s 70 attendees, said, “[W]e ought to reflect what heaven is going to look like and what we in the United States already do look like — and that is people from every nation, language and tribe coming together to worship before the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Oldham described the redesign and relaunch of SBC LIFE, a publication of the Executive Committee, and various articles that have been published about multi-ethnic churches and ministries in the SBC.
“Our goal is to tell the stories of what God is doing in and among you as a people group as you seek to reach others with the Gospel of Christ,” he said.
As Weathersby accepted his award, he thanked the work being done through the fellowship.
“I want to thank you for your heart to reach those who are lost not only among Asian Americans but among others and the work that you not only do here in this country but the work you do around the world,” Weathersby said.
“Because of what you do and your work together, I have seen a tremendous impact in giving from our Asian Americas churches, because of your heart to leading others to Christ.”
Kim reported on advancements in the previous year through a partnership with the International Mission Board (IMB) and how Asian Americans can grow their impact for the Gospel in the future.
Asian Americans, in their various fellowships, can be “missionary forces … because we are sending out pastors, Asian American churches and family members to go frequently to Asian countries [where] we understand and speak the language,” Kim said. “We have effectively molded a partnership with these people and IMB so that we can bring others to the Gospel.”
Thomas Wong, president of the 2nd-Generation Pastors and Planters Fellowship, quoted researcher/author Ed Stetzer from the 2016 SBC annual meeting as saying that “the future of the SBC is not white.”
“When I look around at the convention, I don’t know if I believe that to be true or not,” Wong said. “One of my desires as a second gen leader is to create a platform for partnership, mentoring, coaching and support toward next generation leaders in the Asian American community who would like to have more voice and more presence in the denomination.”
Minwoo Jang, coordinator of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary’s East Asian Leadership Initiative, encouraged Asian Americans to look past the generation gaps and cultural differences.
“A lot of people think that is a hindrance for our ministry,” Jang said. “At Southeastern Seminary, we are reaching out to those who are currently leaders of East Asian churches and institutions so that they can impact their own people within their community.”
Jang said Southeastern is working to create programs to train leaders and equip God’s people to take the Gospel back to their people.
Daniel Im, founder and director of the NewChurches.com church multiplication initiative at LifeWay Christian Resources and teaching pastor at The Fellowship in Nashville, spoke of the range of opportunities in advancing the Gospel.
“We are starting churches in North America,” Im said. “Either you can be a supporting church, a sending church or, what we would like to see, a multiplying church, where you are raising your own church planters from your own church. We want to make an impact, especially when communities are in need.”
Sammy Joo, senior consultant in Asian ministries for church strengthening team with the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, discussed the resources and networking opportunities through his work.
“My primary responsibility is to help churches deploy an ABCD method,” Joo said. “A is for advance the Gospel proclamation from the pulpit, B is for building supplements and strategies, C is for connecting generations and D is for development. Many Asian churches are wondering about the future of the church, so we would like to connect and network with you.”
Kim, voicing gratitude for the Southern Baptist entities and leaders, told attendees that “they open the door for us to get involved and know what we need in order to make partnerships.”