(This headline, written in Korean, reads: Reaching the Nations)By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
FRANKLIN — Approximately 15 Korean Baptist pastors from across Tennessee gathered March 25 at the Church Support Center in Franklin to fellowship, share ministry ideas and to pray for leaders of the Tennessee Baptist Mission Board.
The Korean Baptist Association, comprised of 15 churches, meets twice a year, according to John Kwak, pastor of Bridge Community Church, Nashville, and president of the Korean Pastors Fellowship in Tennessee.
Kwak said he is grateful for the support and commitment of the TBMB to the Korean churches.
Kwak noted the annual All Nations Worship, held during The Summit in November, has “brought the entire ethnic group together. We have been experiencing a small glimpse of heaven,” he said.
There are currently about 10,000 Koreans who live in Tennessee.
William Burton, ethnic church planting specialist for the TBMB, observed that there are about 37 different ethnic groups represented in the convention’s approximately 150 ethnic churches. Of those, Korean churches were among the first to become established many years ago, Burton observed.
“Tennessee Baptists have had ministry to and with Koreans probably longer than any other ethnic group we have,” he said.
Kwak agreed. “We are now seeing the second and third generation Koreans, and each church is diligently working to reach them to believe in our Lord Jesus Christ and to baptize them,” the Nashville pastor said.
Kwak observed that “our mother country, Korea, has been indebted with the seed planted by the missionaries from America over a hundred years ago.
“We have immigrated to America, but we continue to remember the gift God has given us through many American missionaries,” he said.
“We seek to carry on the Baptist faith and dream to see God’s kingdom come and his will be done in the land we now call home,” he said.
The Korean pastors and churches are excited about being a part of the Tennessee Baptist family, Kwak said. “We, as the Baptist pastors of Tennessee, are humbled and proud to be a part of TBMB, and we vow to continue the work of the gospel ministry until the day our Lord returns to us,” he pledged.
The feeling is mutual, Burton said. He noted the Korean churches play an integral role in the Five Objectives adopted by convention messengers a few years ago by giving through the Cooperative Program and the Golden Offering for Tennessee Missions. “They are a vital part of our Tennessee Baptist family,” Burton said.
Randy C. Davis, president and executive director of the TBMB, and Burton met with the Korean pastors during their recent meeting.
“This special group of pastors give meaning to what we say often, ‘Any way you slice it, Tennessee is a mission field.’
“We are proud of these men who lead our Korean churches as they seek to share the good news of Jesus Christ in their communities around Tennessee. They are key partners in reaching our state for Christ,” Davis affirmed.
Before they adjourned, Kwak led a special time of prayer as the Korean pastors prayed in their native tongue for Davis and Burton.