EM은 동립이 되어야 하는가? Should EM be independent?

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 우리 한인교회의 가장 큰 고민과 사역은 우리 자녀입니다. 영어권으로 자란 이제 성인이 된 자녀들입니다. 벌써 많은 세대를 섬기지 못해 많이 잃었습니다. 모든 교회가 EM을 세우고  많은 EM 교회가 생기고 있습니다. 

EM은 동립되어야 하는가? 제 경험과 지혜로 말씀드리면 Yes and No 입니다.

먼저 NO에대해 말씀 드리고 싶습니다. 많은 EM 목회자들이 영어권의 청년들을 대리고 교회를 시작했습니다. 몇 교회말고는 성공했다고 보기 힘듭니다. 그 이유는 목회자들도 준비가 되지 않은 상태와 EM의 성인들도 교회를 유지하기 준비가 되지 않았기 때문입니다. KM의 영향에서 벗어나고 싶은 마음과 아픔과 고통을 피하기 위해 시작은 했지만 너무나 준비가 되지 않고 순진한 (naive) 마음으로 시작된 교회들이 성장하지 못하고 계속 어려움을 격고 있습니다. 특별히 EM목회자들이 계속 움직이는 상황은 도움보다 어려움을 자져오게 되었지요. 아직 많은 EM은 동립하기에 성숙하지 않습니다.

YES. 동립해야 합니다. 이제 영어권자들은 아이들이 아닙니다. 벌써 40대 50대 이상의 나이고 성숙한 성인들입니다. 이들은 우리 교회 (교단)에서 큰 지도자가 될 수 있고 되어야 합니다. 하지만, 교회 (교단)에서는 직분다가 되어야 섬길 수 있습니다. 한국말이 서툴어 집사나 장로가 되지 못하므로 지 교회 이상의 사역에 섬기기 불가능합니다. 교회 외에서 노회나 총회의 사역에 동참하려면 집사나 장로의 직분이 있어야 합니다. 이중 언어로 우리 한국교회가 당회나 제직회나 council을 운영할 수 있는 교회는 별로 없지요. 그렇다면, 우리 영어권의 성인들이 섬길수 있는 동립된 교회가 필요합니다.

문제가 있습니다. 위에 말한대로, 준비가 되지 않은자들이 교회를 세운다는 것은 불가능하고 해서도 않됩니다. 어떻게 해야 할까요?

KM이 할 수 있는 것들이 무엇이 있을까요? 

많이 있습니다. 아니 KM이 돕고 후원하지 않으면, EM이 살기 힘듭니다. EM의 미래는 아직 KM이 키 (key) 를 가지고 있습니다. 중요한 질문은 우리 한인교회가 우리 1.5/2세들을 살리고 세울 마음과 용기와 헌신이 되어 있는가?

다음에 이런 일들에 대한 이슈는 하나씩 다루고 싶습니다. 

대화 하기 원합니다. 이 글을 읽으시는 분들의 생각은 어떤지요?

 

One of the greatest issues in Korean church is EM (English Ministry). Here, I am defining EM as young adult or adult ministry. Should EM be independent? This is one of the biggest question in Korean church.

Speaking from personal experience and wisdom gained from it, the answer is definitely "yes" and "no" - sorry, but read on.

In my observation:

EM SHOULD NOT be independent. They are not ready. Many EM churches have sprouted, but most of them have not succeeded. In fact, many are struggling and some had even closed after only few years. The problem is the EM pastors are not ready to lead an independent church and neither are the EM members. Many EM churches started in order to "be independent" or to get away from frustrating KM churches. However, most do not experience joy and blessings. Many EM pastors leave within couple of  years and people are left with even greater disappointments. Most EM folks are not ready to sustain an independent church.

EM SHOULD BE independent. EM is not only young adults but adults. We now have English speaking Korean-Americans in their 40's and 50's. They are not kids anymore. They should be in leadership positions, serving in various ministries within and beyond local churches. However, it is difficult to serve beyond a local church (classis or synod) unless one becomes a deacon or an elder. In Korean churches, it is almost impossible for anyone who do not speak Korean to be elected as an officer. There are not many Korean churches who are able to sustain a bilingual council. Therefore, it is crucial that EM be independent.

This is the dilemma. As stated earlier, premature people should not start a new church, but English speaking Korean-Americans need churches of their own. What can be done? What should be done?

What can Korean churches do? 

Plenty. Actually, I believe KM is the key for success of EM. KM still holds the key to EM. Important question is... how many Korean churches are willing and ready to help and support EM to grow.

I would like to address these issues later, but I would like to hear some responses from others.

 

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No easy answer to this one.  After years working with Hispanic churches that have their own version of this difficulty,  I just have another question.  I wonder if Korean EMs integrating with Anglo EMs - in places where proximity etc. allow for it - could be a solution for some?

Lou

 

 

Good question.

Actually, many EM folks have gone to Anglo churches. Some stay but majority find themselves again unsatisfied. They feel something is missing. Many try Korean churches again after couple to few years later, but again dissatisfied and unfulfilling. 

I believe it has to do with some spirituality. Can't put into words, but these are truly marginal or between people. They are called Korean-Americans and they should be both Korean and American, but in reality they are also neither fully Korean nor American. I believe all ethnic person feel this way. They think they can be both but at the same time, they are neither. They can't explain it, they don't know what it is... only thing they know is that they are neither. 

I am a firm believer that only true satisfiable identity (where one can survive in all people and culture) is found in Christ. Unfortunately, this is what is missing in most churches. 

Ultimately, we have to link people to Christ... before anything else. Often we focus on earthly matters without leading them to spiritual. We need to start with where they are, but we must lead them to Christ. 

Some will make it in Anglo churches, which is good. Some will make it in multi-ethnic churches, which is also good. However, majority will seek to find... without knowing what they are looking for. It is this majority lost people that we have to focus and guide them to Christ and to church.

Thanks for responding. Maybe you have some other ideas and strategies to share?

Ron

I believe that the goal of all EMs should be to become independent, EXCEPT in the rare case where the KM is willing to accept the EM as equal partners in ministry, with the same status and respect given to their own ministries and leadership.

I agree with you that the KM is the key to the success of an EM.  Like any parent with a child, the parent (KM) needs to care for and nuture the child (EM), but also needs to help the child grow up, let go, and become independent.  There comes a point where the parent must see the child as an independent adult with its own life, mission, and goals.  To not let them develop this way is like having a 30 year old child still living with their parents at home, without a job.

Although many EM members consider themselves to be more "American" than Korean, I still believe that the way they were raised, often in the Korean church and culture still affects their thinking and attitudes.  For example, Koreans are taught to respect their elders, bow to them whenever they are seen, and to submit to them.  This can be a positive thing, yet in terms of being independent, adult, leaders in a church, this attitude can often hinder EM members.  Because they are constantly submitting to, and being made to submit to the "elder" KM members, they often don't see themselves as adults or leaders, but rather as children.

In addition, EM members who have grown up in the Korean church their whole lives have often had many negative experiences from Korean churches (fighting between pastor/elders, etc.).  So, while, EM members submit to, and often respect the KM outwardly, many are still skeptical and pessimistic about the KM and their leadership.  They have not seen enough good examples of Gospel-filled leadership to become leaders themselves.

Therefore, starting from the top, with the EM pastor, there needs to be a sense of united leadership, not just among the EM, but with the KM as well.  The EM pastor needs to be truly equal with the KM.  Since the EM pastor cannot be seen as defiant or pushy in front of the KM, it is the KM pastor's and elders job to defend and support the EM pastor.  The EM Pastor, in turn needs a long-term plan to develop EM elders.  I've seen too many EMs that do not have adequate elder leadership and are certainly unfit to be independent.  In this context, the EM needs to grow into its own, with guidance from the KM.  Honest and open communication is key.  Clear goals should be set.

I wish more Korean pastors and leaders have your understanding.

Thank you for your sharing.

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