interview with Hoon Kim

March 11, 2007

I recently interviewed Hoon Kim, the author of a Bible study titled, Creative Bible Lessons in Genesis, published by Zondervan/Youth Specialities in the Creative Bible Lessons series. [view an excerpt here] He has also written a Youth Specialties article titled Ecclesiastical Pornography: The Danger of Popularity in Youth Ministry. I thought it was particularly notable for an Asian American ministry leader to be published with a large Christian publisher and wanted to find out about his publishing experience and learn about his ministry insights as well.

Q: Please introduce yourself and your ministry experience.

Hoon: My name is Hoon and I’ve been involved in youth and college ministry for more than a decade. I am a graduate of Westminster Theological Seminary and am currently serving at the Korean United Church of Philadelphia as the student ministries pastor. Shelly and I live in Philadelphia and have just been blessed with an addition to our family; our son Sean was born on February 5th.

Q: How did you come up with the idea for the book?

Hoon: Well, I got to know some of the Youth Specialties people and wrote articles for Youthworker Journal and The Journal of Student Ministries. Youth Specialties was looking to complete their Creative Bible Lessons series and I connected with another one of the authors and began the conversation. The publishers were looking for something a little different from the earlier CBL’s; theologically more engaging and activities which were more geared towards postmodern, tech savvy kids. I was involved in the emergent postmodern church dialogue 8 years ago before it became the buzz topic it is today, and wanted to apply some of the lessons I learned!

Q: What was it like to get published with a major publisher?

Hoon: The whole experience was awesome and learned much along the way. Youth Specialties was recently bought out by Zondervan, but the people are still the same; same bunch of great people. I valued the fact that although they are very professional and thorough, they are still extremely personal and available. I very much enjoyed working with Jay (Howver) the publisher… coolest guy in the world, and hope to do more stuff with them in the near future. Bottom line, yes, they are a major publisher, but having said that, it’s ultimately a group of people whom I believe love the Lord deeply and are committed to the Great Commission…

Q: What kind of feedback have you heard about your book?

Hoon: From those who have reviewed the lesson, the feedback has been great. The studies have a redemptive-historical, biblical theology slant to them, and I tried to make each lesson as Christo-centric as possible. Also, I tried to make the activities as ‘un-cheesy’ as possible; activities include both projection activities, manga drawing, video scavengers (use your phones!) and what not…

Q: Any specific insights you can share about ministering with Asian Americans for over a decade?

Hoon: As far as ministering to Asian Americans, the basics are still the same… relational ministry, small groups, and prayer… I hope that we can unite the Asian ethnic churches (there is much talk about multi-ethnic churches… but yeah, one step at a time!) first and rediscover the process of discipleship. With ministry becoming professionalized more and more, I hope we always keep a simple love for Jesus as our fuel… trying new things and trusting in His power… I love what you are doing and writing by the way!

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