About 600 people affiliated with the Southern Baptist Korean fellowship group, known formally as the Council of Korean Southern Baptist Churches in America, met June 14–16 at First Baptist Church, Goodlettsville, a Nashville, Tennessee, suburb.
In addition to providing messages for pastors and their wives, worship, times of prayer, fellowship in their heart language and the camaraderie that comes from working together to accomplish God’s work, the Korean Council each June also provides care and nurture for pastors’ children.
There are childhood development activities for preschoolers through third-graders as well as a youth track (subdivided by age levels) for fourth through 12th grades.
Three days of fun and energetic activities for children and teens are important components of the Korean Council, leaders say, because parents recognize “the importance of our second and third generation to impact their generations and the generations to come with the gospel,” Peter Yanes told The Baptist Paper. Yanes is executive director of Asian American relations and mobilization for the SBC Executive Committee.
Korean cuisine provided
Because so many churches in the council are led by first-generation immigrants, the Southern Baptist fellowship group also provides Korean cuisine for adults.
This year was a challenge, said Joseph Shin, pastor of Cordova Korean Baptist Church in Tennessee.
“In Tennessee, we are small [Korean] churches,” Shin said. “We are grateful for the assistance of Korean churches in Georgia and Florida. Transporting food from Georgia takes hours to deliver.”
Each meal arrived in individual “lunch box” style, Chin said, with as many as eight items arranged in partitioned plastic containers so spicy food juices didn’t mix with non-spicy items.
Byong Hwan “John” Choi, pastor of Korean Baptist Church, Jackson, Tennessee, was in charge of the food, Shin said. Choi spent about six months working out the logistics of providing seven meals, plus snacks, for the 600 people anticipated for each mealtime.
Volunteers from First, Goodlettsville, worked with volunteers from a dozen Tennessee Korean churches to provide meals and clean up afterward. They worked from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day, Shin said.
“It’s been a great experience for our church,” Pastor Lyle Larson said. “Cooperating together like this helps us grow in our love for Christ.”
The Korean Council celebrated its 40th anniversary this year with a theme of “Revive the Passion for the Great Commission.” The Southern Baptist fellowship group is modeled after the SBC, with a foreign mission board, a home mission board and ministries focused on education, women, men and pastors.
The Korean Council’s budget for 2022 is $1,032,000, with $651,200 allocated for the group’s support of 57 missionaries serving in 20 nations and another $130,000 for missions across the United States.
One resolution was passed unanimously, an objection to anti-discrimination laws being discussed in South Korea. Korean Council members last summer asked members to sign a petition opposing a similar law in the United States and send it to their senators.
Many pastors in both countries fear such laws would restrict them from advocating a traditional view of marriage.
Discussion took place in the wake of the canceled 2020 Korean Council gathering about a need for an alternate plan for the annual meeting should there be another pandemic or weather event that results in the event’s cancellation.
Such a change would require an amendment to the council’s constitution, a move that would require discussion over a two-year period, noted the council’s past presidents. The item was tabled until 2022.
New officers, each elected to a one-year term, include: president — Kyung D. Kim, pastor of Flower Mound Korean Baptist Church, Texas; first vice president — Haeng Bo Lee, pastor of Korean Unity Baptist Church, Metro Nashville, Tennessee; second vice president — Young Ha Kim, pastor of Shalom International Baptist Church, Buena Park, California; and secretary — Dong Soon “Daniel” Moon, pastor of Korean-American Baptist Church, Annandale, Virginia.
James Kang was reelected this year to a second five-year term as the Korean Council’s executive director. He was first elected to the position in 2017.
The 2022 annual meeting of the Korean Council is set for June 14–15 in Anaheim, California.
Click here to read how a Korean youth program is bringing people together.