Skip to main content

Equipping Korean Church Planters

April 5, 2023
Participants of the 2023 Korean church planting workshops.
Participants of the 2023 Korean church planting workshops.

Following a successful series of workshops for Korean church planters in 2022, a second series was held earlier this year at Namu Church in New York City and at Great Hope CRC and Grace Community Chapel in nearby New Jersey.

The workshops were supported by Mid-Atlantic Ministry (MAM), the ministry arm of Classes Hackensack and Hudson, and were offered in response to the growing number of Korean church plants in the region.

“Mid-Atlantic Ministry supports church planters and campus ministers in practical ways by providing financial support as well as mentorship and education programs,” said Rev. Kwon-Do Lee, pastor at Manhattan (NYC) Vertical Church and a member of MAM.

Approximately 15 people attended the series, which covered six topics that organizers considered essential for emerging churches. Each workshop offered specific and practical advice from experienced Korean church planters in the East Coast area and from other Korean ministers whose churches have had positive impacts in their communities.

The first session took place Jan. 17 at Namu Church on the theme of “Building a Healthy Church.” Namu Church was planted in Queens (NYC) in 2012 and became an organized church in 2014. The senior pastor, Rev. Jason Chung, pointed out that building a healthy community requires connection, communication, consideration, and community. These emphases stress the importance of being connected to the members of your community, communicating in diverse ways, caring for each other, and becoming one as a family in the Lord, he said.

The next session was led by Rev. Stephen Ro, Korean-American pastor serving Redeemer City to City in South Korea and the United States. He spoke on “Ministry and Ministers,” summarizing three virtues necessary for ministers – calling, character, and competency.

On Jan. 31, additional workshops focused on “Let Your Kingdom Come, Let Your Will Be Done” by Rev. Taehoo Lee of North Philadelphia (Pa.) Community Church and on “The Narrative Sermon” by Professor Jangki Lim, who teaches preaching at Alliance Theological Seminary in New York City. These two workshops allowed participants to think about specific ways to develop and follow a ministry plan, and they offered concrete advice on how to write better sermons and become more competent in preaching.

On Feb. 7, the final sessions in the series took place at Grace Community Chapel in Teaneck, N.J. (just across the Hudson River from Manhattan), which was planted in 2005 by Rev. Jae Park with the support of Resonate Global Mission. In 2010 the membership at Grace Community Chapel grew to 650, and it became an organized church.

Park later discipled and trained other potential church planters and helped to plant King’s Covenant Church in Bridgewater, N.J., and Cornerstone Church of New York in Queens. (See A Church-Planting Ripple Effect.)

During the workshop on Feb. 7, Park shared about his experiences in discipling others and the importance of the Great Commission, in which Jesus instructed his followers to teach people to obey everything he had commanded.

A “Restoration of Worship” session concluded the workshop series. It was led by Rev. Hyung-jin Shim, known as “one of the few worship leaders in Korea who leads worship with self-composed songs.” Shim shared some of the biblical foundations for worship. He also participated in a question-and-answer time, offering practical ideas for emerging churches that might be struggling with leading worship and forming praise teams.

“The number of Korean church planters in the eastern region is increasing every year, and these planters need our support in order to do healthy ministry,” said Kwon-Do Lee. “I’m so grateful that senior pastors were willing to participate in these sessions to share their experiences and to encourage others through beautiful fellowship. Above all, it was a time to learn about church planting and to help planters realize that they are not alone. As a denomination, we are here to help them. The satisfaction level of everyone who participated was very high, and we are planning to offer additional workshops next year.”