|Council for Korean United Methodists provides “a seed of hope”|
The Rev. Han Sung Kim addresses
the United Methodist Council on Korean American Ministries meeting in
September. UMNS photos by The Rev. David Kim.
By the Rev. David Kwangki Kim*
Nov. 24, 2008 | LOS ANGELES (UMNS)
The church does not belong to those who sit on the pews
but to those who are not yet in it, says a Korean American United
Speaking in worship at the fall gathering of the United
Methodist Council on Korean Ministries, Chicago Bishop Hee-Soo Jung
challenged the council and Korean United Methodists to reach out to the
unchurched and reclaim the power of Gospel.
“Let us have a missional vision, God-size dream for the world.
The church does not belong to us who sit on the pew of church, but to
those who are not in the church yet.”
The church should refocus the Gospel and bring its power into
the world, he said. “The gospel changes us and it will change the world.
And God entrusts us for this great task.”
In September, the United Methodist Council on Korean American
Ministries developed strategies to move the Korean American National
Plan forward. The plan, one of six ethnic and language plans in the
church, was established by the 2000 General Conference to strengthen
the denomination’s Korean ministries.
Bishops James E. Swanson, Sr. (from left), Mary Ann
Swenson, Hee-Soo Jung and Jeremiah Park join in worship during the
meeting in Los Angeles.
According to New York Bishop Jeremiah Park, the council has
been a think tank and catalyst for the Korean American community. Park,
who continues a second four-year term as council president, applauded
the 16-member council for its gifts and leadership, passion and
commitment. “I am very grateful that we have accomplished the goals of
last quadrennium with cooperative leadership in our council by the grace
of God,” he said. “This is God’s time for us to go forward for the
growth and development of Korean American ministries in the spirit of
commitment and service.”
The Rev. Han Sung Kim, pastor of Grace Vision United Methodist Church, Cambridge, Mass., said
the council, through its meetings, teams and work, “brings a seed of
hope to the local church and we will see its fruits together in the
The core ministry areas of the council are church planting,
next-generation ministries, leadership development, and small group
ministries, all areas that dovetail with the denomination’s four areas
of emphasis for the next four to eight years. The core ministry connects
with creating new places for new people, starting new congregations and
renewing existing ones, reaching out to young people and developing
principled Christian leaders.
“Most exciting has been the development in terms of
congregational development, leadership development, and next generation
ministries in the Korean United Methodists, offering Wesleyan tradition
and Korean spirituality to the whole United Methodist Church,” said
Bishop Mary Ann Swenson of the California-Pacific Annual Conference, who
has been involved in the council from the since its creation.
During the last four years, 15 Korean churches were planted and
five were chartered. “It is grace that the council could work
together with conferences, Korean mission districts and local
churches and create a partnership model in strengthening the pioneering
churches,” said the Rev. Paul H. Chang, executive director of the Korean
American National Plan.
The council also raised more than $1 million from local Korean congregations to support new church starts. “The Korean United Methodist Church
shouldn’t just depend on the denominational funds but step forward to
participate wholeheartedly in the national plan with financial support
and advance the church planting,” said the Rev. James C. Kim, council
member and president of the National Association of the Korean United
Before 2012, the council hopes to establish 12 new churches and
charter them within 4 to 5 years. They hope to raise another $1 million
to undergird church planting and development of various faith
communities in cooperation with the 1,000 church/ 10,000 Faith
Community/ 100,000 Disciples movement of the National Association of the
Korean United Methodists.
In terms of leadership development, the council wants to train
250 clergy and 1,000 laity as small group leaders to strengthen existing
congregations. The council also plans to start seven next-generation
congregations, revitalize the current trans-generation ministry and
youth initiative, and to build up new college initiative and children’s
During the September gathering, the council renewed its vision
statement to parallel the denomination’s mission of making disciples of
Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. The council’s new
vision is “to integrate Wesleyan tradition and Korean spirituality to
make disciples for the transformation of the world.” The council seeks
to integrate John Wesley’s passion and principles with Korean American
United Methodists religious inheritance including prayerful and
committed life as God’s stewards.
The council believes that work of its program committees and
task force will bring practical strategy and resources for the whole
Korean National Plan. The council collaborates with other
Korean-American Methodist groups to strengthen intergenerational
partnership and cross-cultural communications.
In addition to the election of Park, other officers include
Jung and Swenson as vice presidents in the areas of program and finance
respectively. Chang will continue his office as executive director.
Bishop Robert E. Hayes, Jr. and Bishop James E. Swanson, Sr. represent
the South Central Jurisdictional Conference and the Southeast
Jurisdictional Conference as resource persons.
*Kim is director of Korean resources and editor of United
Methodists in Service at the United Methodist Communications, Nashville,
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