“I came to this country in 1975, after the Vietnam War. It was May 10. I remember that date very well,” said John Nguyen, pastor of Redeemer Baptist Church of Plano. “I moved in with an adoptive family, and I went to Mississippi College, a Baptist college in Clinton, Mississippi. Then, I was called by God in 1980 to go into ministry.”
For the past 42 years, Nguyen has been a devoted worker in Baptist denominational life. It began with his call in 1980.
He then served for two years at a Baptist church in Florida, working with refugees from Southeast Asia, before attending New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and receiving his master of divinity. In 1991, he moved to the Lone Star State and became a Texas Baptist (Baptist General Convention of Texas).
Nguyen worked in the local church for 24 years when he came to Texas, pastoring Vietnamese Baptist Church of Garland. After that, he joined Texas Baptists to work with the Connections Team — now The Center for Ministerial Health — as representative for Area 8, the Dallas area. He served for two years in this position before the Lord began calling him back to the local church.
“Two of my friends approached me. They were pastoring two Vietnamese churches, one in Plano and one in Richardson. They felt they could be more effective together and wanted to merge into one church. They asked me if I would consider joining them as their senior pastor,” said Nguyen.
After much prayer and contemplation, Nguyen surrendered to God’s call to return to local church ministry. The two churches merged, forming Redeemer Baptist Church of Plano, which held its first service on Jan. 1, 2019.
“The theme for our church is ‘One.’ That’s who we are — two churches becoming one,” Nguyen said. “Every Sunday we hold worship together, then people split up and we offer two different sermons — one in English and one in Vietnamese. We have different pastors to reach different generations. There is an English ministry pastor who serves the generations who came to America as children and absorbed American culture. We also have a pastor to reach the older generations who came to America in the 60s, 70s and 80s.”
Along with trying to bounce back from the challenges brought on by COVID-19, Redeemer Baptist Church of Plano is also thinking about the future generations in the Vietnamese church.
“Pray for the second generation. That is our greatest concern. Not many young [Vietnamese] people are going into ministry, even for English ministry. We are looking for help from other Korean and Anglo churches and even from the seminaries in the DFW area. Second generation leadership and members is the biggest issue we are facing.”
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EDITOR’S NOTE — This article was written by Meredith Rose and was originally published by the Baptist General Convention of Texas.