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Korean leaders share resources, pray for revitalization

 


Korean leaders share resources, pray for revitalization

Dec. 14, 2004

LINK: Click to open full size version of image
A UMNS photo by the Rev. Sang Yean Cho

The Rev. Kwange-Jin Kim addresses a meeting of Korean church leaders.

United Methodist News Service

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (UMNS)— Twenty-three Korean United Methodist pastors from across the United States gathered Dec. 6-8 to address revitalizing their churches.

"Leaders of our Korean community and pastors from three different size churches –small, mid-size and large—gathered to talk about our situation in the spirit of truth telling and to address the issue of our churches’ decline and how to revitalize our congregations and grow them to do the work of the Great Commission," said the Rev. Paul Hak Soon Chang, superintendent of the Tri State Southern District in the New England Annual (regional) Conference.

The general decline in the membership of the United Methodist Church in the United States is also being reflected in the denomination’s Korean congregations in this country. Currently, there are 310 Korean United Methodist churches, down from 420 at the end of 1990.

LINK: Click to open full size version of image
A UMNS photo by the Rev. Sang Yean Cho

The Rev. Dong Hyun Kim speaks to Korean church leaders.
Possible reasons for the decline—theological issues, changing social context, leadership and lack of vision, good strategies and resources—were considered.

Participants also discussed developing a booklet to help district superintendents and other English-speaking leadership better understand and be more sensitive to the Korean culture to eliminate some conflicts in the process of making appointments of clergy to churches.

Participants considered ways to raise awareness of the Korean-American United Methodist caucus. The Rev. Sang Yean Cho, director of Korean resources for United Methodist Communications, said, "We had a good representation at the 2004 General Conference, but it is not enough. By sharing our ministries and resources with others, we can grow together and do ministries effectively."

Participants prayed for God to give them wisdom, power, and vision. They also heard success stories from several pastors.

"The name of our church is Good Seed. As the name itself says, it is our goal and vision to plant the good seed for the next generations," said the Rev. Daniel Dong II Chang, pastor of a small church, Good Seed United Methodist Church in Fairview, Texas. "All of our focus and direction is to nurture and teach them to be leaders of the kingdom of God and society."

LINK: Click to open full size version of image
A UMNS photo by the Rev. Sang Yean Cho

The Rev. Seihwan Kim leads a discussion at a gathering of Korean church leaders.
"For the past 20 years, we have focused on the vision of Christ for us," said the Rev. Young Jin Cho, pastor of Korean United Methodist Church of Greater Washington, McClean, Va. "Every five years, we go through the discerning process to find out what to do, what our Lord wants us to be. We want to be faithful to Christ’s vision first. As a result of these efforts, we have been steadily going up and experiencing many changes."

This was the second meeting of the task force. A draft of a comprehensive study report will be presented in March at a conference of the Korean United Methodist Leadership Partner Church Association in New York. The draft also will be presented at the conference of the National Association on Korean-American United Methodist Churches in May.

News media contact: Kathy L. Gilbert, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

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