By Sharon Mager, BCM/D Correspondent
LINTHICUM, Md.–About 800 people, representing six hundred Korean Baptist churches from across 40 states, including Alaska and Hawaii, met at the Westin Baltimore Airport Hotel in Linthicum June 18 to 20 for the annual meeting of the Council of Korean Baptist Churches. This year’s theme was “churches planting churches.” The keynote speaker was Sun Ro Kim, of Han Ma Eum Baptist Church in the city of Kangwon Province.
Messengers elected Sung Ho Kim, pastor of Living Stone Korean Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas, as president of the council and approved resolutions emphasizing the need for church planting and to support efforts opposing same sex marriage.
“This is one of our biggest turnouts,”Chuno Chi, pastor of Laurel Korean Baptist Church and executive secretary for the Council said. Chi said having the meeting in the Baltimore/Washington area, where there is a heavy concentration of Koreans is a contributing factor to the large turnout. The other reason, he said, is due to the emphasis on opposing same sex marriage in Maryland. Many pastors made special arrangements to attend because of that emphasis, especially with the meeting being so close to the nation’s capitol.
“It’s important to teach what is going on, to make people aware,” Samuel Cho said. Cho is the founder and pastor of both Nepal Baptist Church and Bhutan Baptist Church and is leading a petition drive against same sex marriage for the council. Over 500 people signed the petition.
Other “embedded” themes, Chi said, included church growth, embracing the nations and encouraging second generation Koreans.
Chi said immigration has been decreasing and it’s becoming even more important for Korean churches to begin to truly reach out to other cultures.
While the adults packed the main meeting room where they worshipped and listened to sermons and special speakers, the children, particularly pastors’ kids, as well as youth and young adults, had their special areas to sing, pray, and meet other “PK’s.” The youth worshipped with large praise bands and special speaker Jey Kim, senior pastor of First Virginia Baptist Church. They had opportunities to relax and have fun and to get to know each other, watching movies, participating in talent shows and even going to Six Flags Theme Park.
“God is good!,” the youth praise leader yelled. “All the time!” the youth responded.
The program is very helpful to the kids, said Eric Kim, a media support assistant with First Virginia Baptist Church. “They really focus on the struggles preachers’ kids go through,” Kim said.
“The kids meet each year and they stay in touch,” Samuel Cho said.
Robert Kim, Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware missionary for Asian church planting/evangelism, Asian church development and language churches, said ministering to the young people is a huge emphasis for the Korean churches – reaching them and leading them so they can eventually take over the ministries.
This annual meeting drew the largest number of second generation Koreans ever with 180 registered.
North American Mission Board and International Mission Board representatives gave presentations and manned display tables. Messengers and visitors could stop by a food area and load up plates with a variety of Korean food.
Breakout session topics included learning techniques for Bible memorization; educating children, encouragement for pastor’s wives and information on ministering to aging adults.
Robert Kim said the annual meeting is always a great time of fellowship and encouragement. “It lets us know we’re not alone,” he said.
The council broke tradition and had the meeting separately from the SBC annual meeting in New Orleans, but plans to meet in Houston, Texas, during the SBC annual meeting, in 2013.