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Korean Council surveys its churches

HOUSTON (BP)–The number of Korean Southern Baptist churches has grown from 735 to 830 during the last two years.

Timothy Tae Hwan Park, executive director of the Korean Council of Southern Baptist Churches in America during that period, reported the growth during the Korean annual meeting June 18-20 at Houston’s Crowne Plaza Hotel.

“I make a vision statement,” Park said. “We want by 2010 [to have] 1,000 Korean Baptist churches. We want to send 1,000 missionaries from our Korean Baptist churches by 2010 through IMB,” the Southern Baptist Convention’s International Mission Board.

To see if the vision is attainable, Park commissioned a survey for the 2006 calendar year by the Korean Council’s education committee. Jong Soo Lim, chairman of that committee and pastor of the Korean Baptist Church in Tallahassee, Fla., reported at the annual meeting the results of the survey, which he said represented the responses of 26 percent of the churches.

“We look in the past and present so that we can prepare for the next 10 years,” Lim said in his opening statement.

The responses indicated 96 percent of the pastors served fulltime; 84 percent of the fulltime pastors received a salary. Two-thirds of the churches had Sunday worship attendance of fewer than 100, including children; 59 percent of the churches had their own building; $3,177 was the average weekly offering.

Kyung Wong Song, pastor of Korean Baptist Church in Binghamton, N.Y., told Baptist Press the responses probably included the largest Korean churches in the SBC, which could have skewed the offering amount higher than it perhaps should have been.

Overall, the churches baptized 5.4 persons each during the year. This broke down to 33 percent baptizing one to three people each; 28 percent, four to six; 12 percent, seven to nine; and 20 percent, 10 or more. Seven percent of the churches reported they didn’t baptize anyone.

The Cooperative Program was the most utilized channel of mission giving, the survey concluded: 89 percent of the churches gave to missions through the Cooperative Program, the unified plan of giving through which cooperating Southern Baptist churches give a percentage of their undesignated receipts in support of their respective state convention and the Southern Baptist Convention missions and ministries; 52 percent gave to the Annie Armstong Easter Offering for North American missions; 47 percent to Lottie Moon Offering for International Missions; 61 percent gave to their state missions offering.

Korean churches also give to North American and international missions through Korean Council mission programs.

This was the first survey commissioned by the Korean Council.

“We learned from LifeWay [Christian Resources],” Park said. “We understood LifeWay does that kind of survey, so we ask Korean churches, to see for future, especially.”
Kyung Won Song, pastor of Korean Baptist Church in Binghamton, N.Y., provided translation for this article.