Leadership from the International Mission Board emphasized the importance of partnering with Korean brothers and sisters in Christ during a recent conference near Richmond, Virginia. While Korean Baptists and IMB have a strong history of cooperation, this conference is the next step in further cementing this partnership in new ways.
Throughout the three-day conference, IMB and Korean Baptist leaders heard from IMB President Paul Chitwood, SBC President J.D. Greear, WMU Executive Director-Treasurer Sandy Wisdom-Martin and Gateway Seminary President Jeff Iorg. Korean leaders included the following: Korea Baptist Convention President Rev. Jae Chul Yoon; Korea Baptist Theological University/Seminary President Dr. Seon Bae Kim; Summit Coordinator Rev. Kwanjae Yoo and Korea Baptist Convention entity leaders Rev. Jae Kyeong Lee of the Korea Foreign Mission Board, Rev. Ji Young Ryoo of the Korea Home Mission Board and Rev. Yo Sup Lee of the Church Development Board.
Korea Baptist Convention President Rev. Jae Chul Yoon stressed the significance of the conference not only for the present but also for the future: “The Summit is a historic turning point towards a future of collaboration between IMB and the Korea Baptist Convention.”
During round-table discussions, participants listened to leaders share their vision for answering the question, “How can we help each other?” All speakers acknowledged how much can be learned from each other and that continued partnership will lead to greater success in reaching the nations for Christ. Chitwood highlighted the importance of the continued partnership as he spoke on the heavenly vision John relayed to the church in Revelation 7:9-10.
“We have the privilege of a unique partnership. We know that it has been in partnership that we have been able to take the gospel further and see more saved,” Chitwood said.
“We stand before God humble and grateful and look forward with much anticipation to what He is about to do in our partnership for the advancement of the gospel.”
IMB leadership and Korean Baptists reflected on what has been working in their partnership and the areas in which they need to grow. Korean leadership expressed their gratitude that IMB has facilitated avenues for Koreans to participate in IMB programs like the Hands On, Journeyman, Apprentice and Career programs.
Council of Korean Southern Baptist Churches in America President Rev. Kwon Lee Sung conveyed his excitement in regards to the conference: “We have been encouraged as we look forward to how the Cooperative Program will serve as the key for a revival among Korean and Korean-American churches and for overseas missions.”
As Greear focused on the value of cooperative missions, he reiterated Chitwood’s appreciation of the Korean Baptist and IMB partnership. “We can send people better if we link arms together instead of doing it on our own. The role we play in coming together is the cause of mission,” he said.
Rev. Daniel Park, pastor of New Song Church in Carrollton, Texas, pointed to Koreans’ zeal for evangelism when asked what IMB could learn from Korean brothers and sisters.
“I would say one thing [the IMB and Southern Baptist leaders] need to learn from the Koreans is our passion for the gospel,” Park said.
During a prayer time at the event, participants prayed in Korean and in English. Their passion was evident as they voiced their commitments to send and go wherever the Lord leads.
Rev. Seung Ryong Jung, pastor of Everlove Baptist Church in Daejeon, South Korea, described his church’s vision to adopt unengaged, unreached people groups, or UUPGs.
“Twenty or so years ago, God gave us a vision to fulfill the Great Commission. Specifically, God told our congregation to adopt five UUPGs,” Seung said.
“We named the vision ‘Vision 2020’ because we wanted to complete it in the year 2020. Throughout the years, we have adopted Uzbek, Burmese, Chinese Muslim, Jewish and Palestinian peoples, and just this year, we adopted Tunisian Arabs. We have fulfilled the vision God has placed in our hearts. Additionally, this year three families dedicated their lives to missions, and we are currently preparing to send out these families. We are excited to partner these families with the IMB through the Korea Baptist Convention.”
As IMB and Korean Baptists propel this essential partnership forward, Korean Baptists in the U.S. are eager to “bridge the gap” with believers in Korea.
Park acknowledged the language and cultural barriers, but also recognized what God can do beyond these limitations.
“As Korean pastors in America, we want to use our cultural foundations in both Korea and America as steppingstones between the IMB and pastors in Korea to help this partnership continue to grow and flourish,” Park said.
Victor Hou, AVP of Global Advance at IMB, summed up the importance of the partnership: “We can do so much more together than we could do on our own.”