Korean Christians are known by many for the fervency of their praying. People from “the land of morning calm,” as South Korea is known, start with prayer each morning, and at church each prays aloud at the same time, starting quietly and increasing in volume as their prayers become more fervent.
Because of this deeply-embedded commitment to prayer, many paid close attention to Vance Pitman’s words during the June 13–15 annual meeting of the Council of Korean Southern Baptist Churches in America. Pitman, president of the North American Mission Board’s Send Network, preached from Acts 1:1–14.
New Testament believers’ faith produced obedience, Pitman said, and they had a passion for unity; a desperation for prayer. Pitman spoke to the group of nearly 1,000 at Berendo Street Baptist Church in Los Angeles, site of their 41st annual meeting.
Fellowship, food and worship
Fellowship is a major component of the Korean Council’s annual meeting, with Korean meals and snacks served throughout the day. Displays from seminaries and other SBC entities, as well as book sellers and other vendors also were available.
Some 100 churches worship in Korean throughout Greater Los Angeles, and many worked together to provide culturally-appropriate meals. Children and youth participated in their own worship, Bible study and activities.
For adults, Monday and Tuesday focused on worship and inspiration. Wednesday was reserved for business, until the evening service that included a message from Byeong Rack Choi, pastor of Kangman Central Baptist Church, one of the largest congregations in Seoul, South Korea.
The evening also included a performance by the children and youth for their parents.
The business of the Korean Council included reports, motions, passage of a 2022–23 budget and election of officers.
James Kang, Korean Council executive director, announced member churches had given $258,770 as of May 1 for Ukraine relief. He also discussed Vision 2027, implemented by the Southern Baptist Convention, which the Korean Council adapted to fit attainable goals, Kang said.
The seven elements of the Korean Council’s Vision 2027 include:
- sending out 70 missionaries by 2027
- starting 30 churches
- revitalizing 25 churches
- emphasizing discipleship for children and youth
- providing two weeks’ paid vacation for 20 small church pastors who haven’t had a vacation in seven years
- establishing a prayer retreat and missionary training center in Lindale, Texas
- increasing income from churches to pay for the above
- encouraging churches to support Cooperative Program endeavors of the SBC
Kang said leaders saw the struggles some churches had in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and came up with two ways to help: a year’s supply of professionally designed bulletin covers members could use to share with family, friends and others; and a free, professionally-designed home page website available for churches.
Participants heard about the possibility of the donation in the next year of a 60-acre retreat center in Texas, and voted to accept it if offered. The delay is to ensure the property comes with a clear title.
A $1,256,000 budget for 2022–23 was approved, an increase of $224,000 from the 2021–22 budget.
Officers were elected to one-year terms: President Haeng Boo Lee, pastor of Korean Unity Baptist Church, Nashville; Vice President Nak “Joseph” Cho, pastor of Tidewater Korean Baptist Church, Virginia Beach, Virginia and president of the Korean Council’s Foreign Mission Board; Treasurer Jeong Heo, pastor of Hanmaum International Baptist Church, Fort Worth; Recording Secretary, Chun Kuk Oh, pastor of Arizona New Light Baptist Church, Phoenix; Auditor Phil Sang Han, pastor of Antioch Korean Baptist Church, Flushing, New York.