More than 70 Christian Reformed Korean pastors met in Los Angeles in April to celebrate reaching the 100-church mark and to establish a ministry training program specifically for Korean CRCs.
This was the 23rd annual meeting of the Korean CRC Council, which has seen its ranks grow from 20 churches in 1983 to 100 churches in 2006.
Rev. Tong Park, regional ministry leader for Christian Reformed Home Missions, said about one-third of the growth has come from church planting and the rest from churches transferring in from other denominations. “We’re selecting healthy and strong churches that are less than 10 years old, self-supporting, and similar in Reformed theology,” he said.
The addition of many new churches has created a strong need for Korean pastors to receive specific training and orientation into the CRC and its polity, said Park. Working under the umbrella of the Synodical Ministerial Candidacy Committee (SMCC), which now oversees the candidacy of all those entering CRC ministry, the Korean Council enthusiastically approved a proposal for the CRC Korean Institute for Ministry.
Both the SMCC and the Korean Council recognize the differences in culture, language, and theological orientation of most Korean ministers, as well as the need for a long-term standardized program that accommodates the unique situation of the Korean church. The institute will provide both emerging-leader training and continuing education for incoming pastors.
The institute will be supervised by the SMCC and implemented and funded by the Korean churches.
Other highlights of the Korean Council meeting included a dialogue between first- and second-generation pastors and the concurrent meeting of an English Ministry conference as a first step to building a national network.