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Korean Baptists reach goal 1 year early

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)–Members of the Council of Korean Southern Baptist Churches in America are celebrating the mobilization of 1,000 people for missions service through the International Mission Board.

The council set a goal in 2007 of sending out 1,000 missionaries through the International Mission Board by the year 2010.

The 600 or more people at the Korean Council’s annual meeting in Louisville, Ky., responded with fervent applause and intense prayer when Ken Winter, IMB vice president for church and partner services, reported the figures: At the present time, 300 Koreans are serving with the IMB; another 200 are in the missionary candidate process; and 500 have committed to go when resources are available.

“The IMB encouraged us to send missionaries, so Koreans have to support IMB,” said Sun Ik Hwang, pastor of Hanmaum Korean Baptist Church in Columbus, Ind., when he voiced a plea to council attendees Tuesday morning to connect each missionary with a church for one-to-one prayer.

“Korean churches need to support not only manpower but financial support,” Hwang also told the council.

The theme of increased support of the Cooperative Program emerged several times from various speakers during the Korean Council’s June 22-24 sessions at the Louisville Marriott East.

One nominee for president -– Kyung Tae Cha, pastor of Bethany Korean Baptist Church in Layton, Utah -– made increased support of the Cooperative Program the main point of his candidacy speech.

While the presidency later went to Sin K. Baik, pastor of Atlanta New Way Korean Baptist Church, Cha was elected first vice president. Jong-oh Lee, pastor of First Korean Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Fla., was elected second vice president; Hyeok Kim, pastor of Global Mission Baptist Church in Garden Grove, Calif., secretary; and In Gyun Oh, pastor of Hanuri Korean Baptist Church in Carrollton, Texas, treasurer. All were elected to a one-year term.

Chongoh Aum was re-elected to a four-year term as the council’s executive director, the group’s only salaried position.

In other business, the Korean Council voted to give formal recognition to the Southern Baptist College and Seminary in Los Angeles, which was started 25 years ago by Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary as an Ethnic Leadership Development center.

“We approve our pastors go there,” Executive Director Aum later told Baptist Press.

Known informally as the Korean Southern Baptist seminary, its president is Sung K. Park, pastor of Berendo Street Baptist Church. While the church houses the seminary, the two entities are independent of each other, said Peter Jong Han, a member of the seminary’s board of directors.

“We ask Korean Council to approve our seminary so our graduates can work in all other states,” Han said. “We have approval of Southern California Korean Fellowship, but need nationwide approval.”

The Korean Council functions much like a mini-SBC, with international and home missions, Sunday School, English ministry, Brotherhood and Woman’s Missionary Union departments. Each made reports of their work during the Louisville gathering.

The SBC’s IMB, North American Mission Board and WMU gave hour-long presentations to the council, as did the Korean youth, which held a youth conference led by Jae Kim of Jacksonville, Fla., during the council meeting.

“It was inspiring and heart-touching,” said David Kim, 15, a member of Kentucky Mission Church in Louisville, Ky., about the youth conference, which was themed “Back to Beth-el.

“I didn’t know anything about this until now. I want to come every year,” Kim said.

Jae Cho, pastor of Hanmaum Church in Durham, N.C., said his two sons were the reason he attended this year’s council meeting. “They like it very much,” he said, referring to the youth conference.

Instead of breakout sessions this year, various leaders made presentations on topics of interest to the attendees as a whole.

Jee Duk Do of Tidewater Korean Baptist Church in Virginia Beach, Va., speaking on retirement, said, “Number one, don’t worry about anything. Trust God. Your future is in God’s hand.

“The best blessing is a little bit short [of what you’d like it to be] to ensure leaning on God,” Do said. “Young pastor, don’t calculate your future. You’re a worker. The Master will provide for you…. Show Christian character by the way you respond to retirement.”

A leader in the council’s English ministry also gave a presentation to the council, as did the wife of a church planting pastor.

Following each report was a time of concerted prayer, with each person praying aloud in a low voice that collectively rumbled and vibrated throughout the conference hall, until closed by the prayer of the leader. The prayer time after Kim spoke was particularly poignant, with sniffles and tears being heard throughout the meeting hall.
Karen L. Willoughby is managing editor of the Louisiana Baptist Message.