LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)–Southern Baptists have for centuries traveled the world to preach the gospel. But in the year 2000, the world is increasingly coming to Southern Baptists.
Waves of students — many from Asian countries closed to Christianity — are coming to the United States to study. According to The Navigators, since 1954 foreign enrollment in U.S. universities has swelled from 34,232 to 452,635.
The mission fields of American college campuses are ripe for harvest. Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Sanghun Kim has answered God’s call to reap.
“These days, so many Asian students are coming here to study,” said Kim, a master of divinity student from Seoul, Korea. “[Many] don’t have any idea about the Bible and Christianity. Their mind is closed tight.”
Since arriving at Southern, Kim has actively sought to open these minds. His campus ministry has included personal evangelism and discipleship, as well as leading Bible studies and worship services at local colleges.
In fact, Kim, who holds a doctorate in pharmacy, currently sets aside his entire weekend for campus ministry.
On Fridays, Kim meets with several Chinese, Vietnamese and Japanese students at the University of Louisville to share the gospel. He also hosts a prayer service for missions at his house on Friday night, but not before he takes time for personal evangelism at the university campus that afternoon.
“God has called me to do personal evangelism,” Kim said. “It is very important to me in my Christian life.”
Saturdays for Kim are reserved for discipling new believers, including a professor from Korea studying dentistry at the University of Louisville.
“She said to me she went to church 50 years … but she didn’t have any confirmation as a Christian. She was just a church-goer,” Kim said. “During this Bible study, she has received confirmation as a born-again Christian.”
Now, the professor is “committed to do campus ministry with her job,” Kim said. “She said to me, ‘There’s so many non-Christians on campus, especially in my class.’ She didn’t know how to evangelize them. Now she understands how to do evangelism and how to follow up with Bible study.”
Kim’s Sundays include a trip to Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis where he leads worship and preaches as a Nehemiah Project church planter. And after a time of afternoon evangelism on the IUPUI campus, Kim returns to U of L to help lead a Bible study for the BSU.
Kim’s passion for campus ministry partly arises from his own experience. Kim was a freshman at the Chung-Ang University College of Pharmacy in Seoul when the Lord cured him of his sin disease.
Kim received an immediate call to ministry, but his first mission field was his family — all practicing Buddhists.
“After I became a Christian, I preached the Word of God to them with patience,” Kim said.
Eventually, they all became strong Christians.
His involvement with the Student Christian Movement at the university showed him the great need for evangelism on college campuses across the world.
As he progressed in his education, the calling to campus ministry grew. He knew what he should do.
“Because I thought that I could do this ministry as a faculty member of college, I decided to study and get a job at my university,” Kim said. “To do campus ministry, I had to go to the campus.”
He discovered having an on-campus job was an effective means for ministry.
After graduating with a doctorate, the Lord called him to the University of Kentucky to pursue postdoctoral studies and explore a new mission field — American universities.
“The Lord led my family and me to the University of Kentucky so I could improve my research skills and preach his Word to unbelievers,” Kim said.
In his postdoctoral work, Kim received many academic honors, but he said his greatest accomplishment had eternal value.
“The Lord allowed me to introduce Jesus Christ to five unbelievers,” Kim said.
In Lexington, Kim led Bible studies and taught discipleship groups. But, the more he studied, the more he realized he needed to know and the more he realized God was calling him to full-time ministry.
God has used Southern as the place for Kim to continue his growth. Kim will graduate in two years, but he knows the time is now for campus ministry.
“The college student is [at] a very important age,” said Kim, who added that students deal with a multitude of struggles.
And the former pharmacist works tirelessly to prescribe the answer.
“I understand that campus ministry for college students is very important for the mission to the world,” Kim said. “I would like to continually make the Lord’s disciples by proclaiming the gospel on campuses with the help of the Holy Spirit.”
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at www.bpnews.net. Photo title: SANGHUN KIM.