NextGen pastors add zeroes, find fellowship, grow in knowledge of IMB

Editor’s Note: Read more about the NextGen SBC Asian American Pastors’ Summit. 

Eli Choi, the pastor of Home Church in Frederick, Maryland, said that after attending the NextGen SBC Asian American Pastors’ Summit at the International Mission Board headquarters he has a renewed commitment to cooperative Southern Baptist missions through the IMB. 

NextGen Asian American pastors, Ezra Bae, the Asian church mobilization strategist for the IMB, center right, Peter Yanes, the SBC executive director of Asian American relations and mobilization, bottom right, and Carter Tan, IMB business solutions partner, far right, pose in front of the water fountain in front of the IMB headquarters in Richmond, Virginia. The pastors attended a summit on Sept. 7 to learn about the IMB and ways to connect. IMB Photo

On Sept. 7, fourteen NextGen pastors traveled to Richmond, Virginia, to learn about the IMB and the missionary task, discover ways to get involved and establish connections. NextGen refers to second-generation Asian Americans who were born in or moved to the U.S. as children.

Just 24 hours before the summit, Choi and other pastors voiced what they hoped to walk away with after the summit. The pastors expressed a desire to learn about the IMB and its strategic goals, put faces to names, understand the assessment process for new missionaries, discover ways to get their churches involved, learn where their financial gifts are going so they can communicate that to their congregations, and form connections with other NextGen Asian American pastors that extend past the event. 

Twenty-four hours from their first meeting on the eve of the summit, the pastors shared how their expectations were exceeded.  

“It was refreshing just to see people who love Jesus give everything up for the gospel,” Choi said. “Pastorally, I’m ready to give the resources.” 

During a session where IMB leaders shared the many pathways to go to the mission field, Choi said he texted a 17-year-old student and a retired couple in his church to encourage them to consider serving with the IMB. He said they had communicated their interest before, but he now felt confident and excited to recommend the IMB. Choi was also excited to see minority representation in IMB leadership, staff and missionaries. Choi and several other pastors said it helped them see they have a place in the IMB.  

Brian Tung, left, the English pastor of First Chinese Baptist Church of Dallas in Dallas, Texas, looks at the IMB’s Annual Statistical Report. Chris Derry, right, holds up copies of the report in multiple languages. Derry is the IMB’s director of church and network mobilization. Derry gave the pastors a tour of the IMB’s headquarters. IMB Photo

Brian Tung, the English pastor of First Chinese Baptist Church of Dallas in Dallas, Texas, said he is now more confident in promoting IMB to his congregation. Instead of just sending money, he looks forward to communicating how offerings are being used. 

Augustine Hui, the campus pastor of Metairie Church in Metairie, Louisiana, said he appreciated the opportunity to connect with other NextGen-ers who are also called to ministry. Before, Hui said he felt isolated and didn’t know of many, if any, second-generation Asian American pastors.  

Daniel Jung, the associate pastor of Tidewater Korean Baptist Church in Virginia Beach, Virginia, said he wanted to meet like-minded brothers serving in a similar context who are also wrestling with what it means to be a NextGen Asian American pastor in an immigrant church. 

Hui, Jung and the other pastors are now in a messaging group and will continue the discussions that were begun during their visit to the IMB. 

Augustine Hui, center, Terrence Shay, middle, and Chris Bae visit by the marble globe in front of the IMB’s headquarters. These NextGen pastors from churches in Louisiana, California and North Carolina built lasting connections. IMB Photo

Although Samuel Noh’s church, Grace Redeemer Church in Anaheim, California, is a new church plant with limited financial resources, he said that his commitment to giving to the Cooperative Program and Lottie Moon offering was strengthened through this visit.  

“I can confidently say I’ll add extra zero to [the offering to] the IMB,” Noh said. “We’re putting our money where our mouth is, and this is how we can actually be a part of the Great Commission.” 

One of his church’s new members is interested in long-term missions, and Noh is excited to share his new contacts at the IMB.  

They were a part of history in the making, Chris Bae pointed out, and that was one of the things that excited him the most. Bae is the youth pastor at Connect Church in Cary, North Carolina. This was the first summit of its kind, and Bae said it laid the foundation for what is to come for ongoing NextGen Asian Americans’ involvement with the IMB.