Korean church crosses cultural lines

January 25, 2008

The NAMB (North American Mission Board) featured Berendo Street Baptist Church in Los Angeles in this article, Korean church crosses cultural lines::

Once considered the “mother church” of all Southern Baptist Korean congregations, today Berendo Street Baptist Church of Koreatown, Los Angeles, is reaching cross-culturally and building bridges for other people groups to come to know Christ.

Susumu Miyagawa, a native of Japan, started attending Berendo Street with his Korean-born wife. After he had been baptized, trained and ordained by Berendo Street, he started two Japanese churches in the Glendale, California, area before moving to Lake Elsinore and starting Gospel Siloam Church in connection with a hotel that includes bubbling hot springs. Bathhouses are very popular in Japan for their physical and spiritual healing. Miyagawa uses this to evangelize nonbelievers—the hot springs a metaphor to illustrate the need for spiritual renewal in Christ.

In addition to the Japanese church in Lake Elsinore, Berendo Street also sponsors on-site Hispanic and Chinese-Korean congregations as part of its global missions commitment.

… Located in what is still known as Koreatown, the area west of Interstate 5 and north of Interstate 10 has become increasingly multicultural. As Koreans acquired the means, many moved to suburbs. Berendo Street Baptist, however, has no plans to relocate though the church has outgrown its property—the equivalent of 17 city lots (77,000 square feet) on two sides of a residential street. About 2,000 people participate in Sunday morning worship.

As Berendo Street strengthened and matured, they found their place in God’s global plan, says former administrative pastor Yongjae “Christopher” Yim. Since its beginning in 1957, they’ve trained and sent out more than 100 people as pastors and career missionaries. Each summer Berendo Street sends out more than 100 members on short-term mission trips. The church financially supports 25 churches around the world and has adopted a Chinese-Muslim people group.

“By doing this mission work we are participants in the evangelizing of the whole world that God commanded,” Yim says. “Primarily our purpose is Korean but we bow to the people of the community.

“We have to try to understand and meet their culture for effective ministry,” Yim says. “God is a God of variety. They have their own characteristics and distinctives in culture, language and customs but even though we are different, in Christ we can be one family, like brothers and sisters in accord with each other so God is glorified by the cooperative effort.”

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(also mirrored at onmission.com; plus, related 2003 article, Korean Baptists celebrate missions; 450 commit to overseas service

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David Park
January 26th, 2008

Awesome! I love this story.

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