Let me just say this before I begin:
A part of me really, really misses the Korean church. I miss hanging out with people that have the same experiences and stories. I miss laughing with people my age about how our parents beat us without looks of concern. I really miss the fervent and powerful worship and the way we pray together as a church.
With all that said, I don’t know if I miss it enough to engage in a full-time ministry at a First Generation/Immigrant Korean church.
I’ve talked about this many times before; on this blog, to people who ask, to people who don’t ask…
And I’m just really at a season in my life where I’m fleshing out what I believe in and why.
This conversation came up recently with my sister-in-law.
We were talking about the Korean church and how many of the Korean churches that we (my sister in-law, my wife and myself) have been involved in, and Korean pastors that we know focus only on coming to church. (Granted, this idea isn’t only perpetuated by the Korean church.)
The church define faithfulness depending on attending all the services that the church holds: Early Morning Prayer (everyday); Wednesday Night Services; Sunday morning is a given; Youth service/bible study/praise nights on Fridays;
And whether intentional or not, there’s an underlying sentiment that God is here (at church) and not really there (anywhere else).
Every encounter with God seems to happen in the church building. And we have made God into the God of the Temple rather than the God of tents.
Our mission focus, then, becomes about bringing people to a building where God resides.
And I always wondered, why can’t we bring the church to the people? How beautiful are the feet that brings good news? And that good news doesn’t have to be heard in a pew of a building that we call church. It’s something I wrestled with back then, and it’s something I continue to wrestle with today: Why can’t we, as a Church, do a better job of meeting people where they are, and not have the people come meet us where we are (in a building)?
Jesus never tells the poor people to go look for the church.
God isn’t confined to one place.
Encountering God doesn’t happen only in a sanctuary.
Worship is not limited to a certain time of the week at a certain place.
Church shouldn’t be confined to property.
And mission of the church should not be focused on solely the maintenance of that property.
6 thoughts on “The Korean Church and Where I Am”
I am apparently on the other side of ministry from you, since I retired from pastoral work nearly four years ago. I now work with low income people to help rehab their homes and give them a safe place to live. I find you are absolutely right. God is also found in the streets and alleys and on dirt roads and mountain “hollers.”
Great post. Continue to keep more lively publications. Been following blog for Three days now and I should say I am beginning to much like your post. I need to know how can I subscribe to your blog?
Larry- blessings for your ministry! For me, I don’t want retirement be my freedom to serve God’s people outside the parish. May you continue to give hope and peace to those who can’t make it to a church campus!
Chanel- underneath the Facebook profile is a link for email subscription. On the very bottom is an rss feed. Thanks for your words.
Meeting God definitely happens both in church and outside church. I think all churches need to be focused on bringing God to individuals everywhere they happen to be.
I wish you could hear the pastor from our former church! Awesome Korean man, awesome disciple, awesome preacher and teacher. That is where God is leading you, too.
It is funny that you mention that. Because if you look at korean church history as a whole, in the beginning (in our grandparent’s and great grandparent’s generation) Korean Churches started with loud fanfares in the streets to tell people about God. Also not practiced as much today as I remember but there were so many street evangelists. Also you hear about early pastors being with the people and comforting them in need and really ministering to them in their place… I wonder what happened?
We got fat and content…