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Korean-Americans answer missions call

CARROLLTON, Texas (BP)–Hundreds of Korean-American Baptists are committing their lives to overseas missions service through a partnership with the Southern Baptist International Mission Board.

About 1,200 people attended the first Korean Baptist Missions Conference at New Song Church in Carrollton, Texas, April 21-23.

David Gill, pastor of Concord Korean Baptist Church in Martinez, Calif., directed the event along with Jerry Rankin, president of the International Mission Board.

The goal was to organize annual consultations between the two groups, followed by mobilization rallies hosted at Korean-American Baptist churches around the United States and a summit of Korean leadership from the United States and South Korea.

“They caught the vision for people group strategy by giving priority to the unevangelized rather than just starting Korean churches,” Rankin said.

Except for Caucasians, Koreans are the largest single ethnic group sent out by the IMB, with more than 300 appointed since the partnership began and another 800 in contact with the personnel office regarding future service.

Fifty IMB personnel were invited to share mission reports, describing the greater access Asians experience in regions of the world where Anglos are less welcome. Participants will use the exchange of information to evaluate partnership efforts and recruit more Korean-American Baptists to serve through the IMB.

More than 130 people responded during opportunities at the conference to express a desire to pursue missionary service through the IMB, according to Hyoung Min Kim, a Korean and Asian church planting consultant for the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention.

Rankin has been encouraged by the desire of Korean-American Baptists to develop a sound missiology that moves beyond merely working with expatriate Koreans.

“We continue to put before them the lostness of the world and the responsibility of the local church to take ownership for calling out missionaries,” he said, stressing the effectiveness of a cooperative strategy among Southern Baptists.

Jeff Iorg, president of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, challenged the conference audience to depend wholly upon the Holy Spirit’s empowering to grow biblical churches.

“We are often more willing to trust in strategies and programs, money and power than the Spirit’s power,” Iorg said. “Trusting in resources is false power.”

The best evidence of the Holy Spirit at work is found in lives that are transformed, Iorg said, pointing to examples of Spirit-empowered churches in Acts 11 and 13.

“Healthy churches innovate to advance the Gospel,” Iorg said. “We must be willing to change to advance the Gospel, to reach more people for Jesus Christ, to grow larger churches and to start church planting movements.”

Also speaking at the conference were Loren Cunningham, founder of Youth With A Mission; Daniel Dong-Won Lee, pastor of Jiguchon Church in Bundang, a suburb of Seoul, Korea; David Tae-Woong Lee, director of the Korea Mission Training Center; Myung Jin Ko, pastor of Suwon Central Baptist Church; and Bob Roberts, pastor of Northwood Church in Keller, Texas.

As part of the conference, participants traveled to nearby Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, where they toured the church and spoke with Jack Graham, Prestonwood’s pastor and a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Representatives from the IMB and North American Mission Board provided displays in the exhibit area. GuideStone Financial Resources, the Baptist General Convention of Texas, the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention and the Dallas Baptist Association also were represented at the meeting.
Tammi Reed Ledbetter is news editor of the Southern Baptist TEXAN.

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