When 6 Korean-American pastors toured Graafschap Christian Reformed Church in Holland, Mich., several weeks ago, the significance of the visit was not lost on Rev. Tong Park.
“These pastors are first-generation immigrants,” says Park, Korean Ministry Director for the CRC and leader of the Christian Reformed Home Missions Korean Ministry Team.
“I thought it was important that they see one of the first Christian Reformed Churches, which was founded by Dutch immigrants. It clarified for these pastors that the CRC is an immigrant denomination.”
The church visit was part of the nine-day Korean Institute for Ministry (KIM) orientation held in early April in Grand Rapids.
The orientation, hosted by Home Missions and the Korean Council of Christian Reformed Churches, helps new Korean-American CRC pastors fulfill their education requirements set by the Candidacy Committee (formerly the Synodical Ministerial Candidacy Committee).
“Many Korean pastors coming into the CRC have not been properly oriented to the denomination,” Park explains. “Even though some are from Presbyterian backgrounds, there is still much for them to learn about our theology and unique history.”
At this year’s orientation, 10 West Coast pastors were joined by six pastors from Michigan Korean Christian Reformed Churches, along with Park and three KIM staff members. The program included studies of Reformed theology, CRC history, Reformed hermeneutics, CRC church polity, and Korean ministry.
The KIM orientation was formerly part of Home Missions’ twice-yearly orientation for new church developers.
For participants at this year’s orientation, the training event was an effective introduction to the CRC. “It was a time to relish the full flavor of the Christian Reformed Church,” observes Rev. Tim Kwon, pastor of God’s Dream Center in Cerritos, Calif. “I was able to feel the power of the history and spirituality of the denomination.”
Rev. Seong Soo Nam, pastor of Korean CRC of Orange County in Westminster, Calif., adds, “It was a wonderful opportunity to learn and refresh my memory on Reformed theology and traditions. As I saw and heard the history of the Christian Reformed Church, I could envision the future of the Korean-American churches in 150 years.”