growing autonomous churches via duplex model

July 16, 2007

This 2001 memorandum titled A Proposal for Duplex Autonomy (in PDF format) was drafted by an English Ministry (EM) of an immigrant Korean church and presented to the Korean Ministry (KM) session for consideration. (A “session” is the governing leadership body of a Presbyterian church.) A “duplex model” is two churches under one roof — descriptive of how two autonomous congregations commits to worshipping at one campus location, and provides a solution to the problem found in many immigrant Asian churches: traditional intergenerational churches often have an English-speaking subcongregation, but this often results in a lack of responsibility or sense of ownership required to sustain and grow churches.

The memorandum presents the following as rationale for empowering an English ministry towards full autonomy as an independently-governed church congregation:

  1. EM is a congregation, separate and distinct from KM.
  2. The present structure hinders the EM congregation from taking complete responsibility for the church.
  3. EM will not in the foreseeable future “take over” KM.
  4. Autonomy will strengthen EM: A Missions Analogy.
  5. EM Pastors should be subject only to EM’s governing body.
  6. The church’s growth may be crippled if EM is not allowed to accept the responsibility of decision making.
  7. The Joint KM-EM Session Model is not workable or efficient.
  8. The Two-Session Committee Model is not workable or efficient.

Download and read the full memorandum to see accompanying details on the rationale and context, and the proposed action steps. This memorandum clearly presents many of the issues involved in navigating the dynamics within intergenerational immigrant Asian churches. It should provide useful insights for leadership discussions in your church context as well.

Posted online with permission from [then]Associate Pastor Kevin Haah, Young Nak English Ministry (Los Angeles, CA). Your feedback is welcomed here.

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Comments:2 Responses

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July 17th, 2007

Thanks for posting this. The document that you shared gives a good description of the rationale for and the operation of the duplex model for an immigrant church. [Adds reference to dissertation file. . .]

July 23rd, 2007

Unfortunately the trend among some new KM pastors of prominent churches in the Greater LA area is start from scratch. I.e., upon their arrival at the new church they tell the existing EM congregation to leave with the KM’s blessing (which includes funding) and go plant an independent church.

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