evangelistic zeal of Korean Americans

November 10, 2008

Los Angeles Times posted its second of two articles by K. Connie Kang about the growth of ethnic Korean American churches in Southern California — Southern California’s Korean Christians put a premium on evangelism. Selected highlights are excerpted below:

Visit a large Korean church in Southern California and you are likely to see a distinctive part of the decor — a world map peppered with markers locating missionaries supported by the church.

At Grace Korean Church in Fullerton, two walls inside the elegant atrium serve as a photo gallery highlighting the work of 208 missionaries serving in 47 countries, including Sweden, Italy, Argentina, Bangladesh, Russia and Vietnam.

… Along with rapid growth, 5 a.m. prayer worship and tithing, Korean churches on both sides of the Pacific are distinguished by their emphasis on evangelism. Surveys have shown that South Korea dispatches more Christian missionaries abroad than any other country except for the United States.

“Some passionate evangelicals even predict that it will not be long before South Korea is No. 1,” said Sun Gun Kim, a professor of sociology at Seowon University and an expert on Korean churches.

… South Korea is home to 23 of the 50 largest churches in the world, Kim said. Christians make up nearly 30% of the South Korean population — 12 million Protestants and 5 million Roman Catholics.

… Missions are central to the Korean practice of Christianity. The Rev. John Huh, a former youth pastor at Irvine Baptist Church who led numerous mission trips, sees a fervor for evangelism among many young Korean Americans. “They may not want to get up for the early-morning prayer, but they love serving on short-term missions,” he said.

Read the entire article. Also see part 1 of this series, Korean churches growing rapidly in Southern California.

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