A Visit With the International Mission Board (IMB)

As I wrote in a previous Pastor’s Corner, our church will be working more closely with the International Mission Board (IMB).

Some of our church members are considering serving as full time missionaries. Our church alone does not have the capability to train them adequately or support them fully, financially or otherwise. If they are accepted as IMB missionaries, the IMB has the resources to take care of them.

Another reason we decided to work with IMB is that we want to develop purpose oriented mission programs. There are still many people groups who have not heard the gospel. Japan has a very small number of believers not because they lack the opportunity to hear the gospel but because they simply have not responded. We would rather support missionary efforts in other places, where people have not yet heard the gospel and there is no church. Cooperation with IMB will be very beneficial for us to obtain information about unreached peoples, develop strategies, take short-term vision trips, and start churches.

Pastor Eric and I, along with 14 church members, made a 3-day visit last week to the IMB in Richmond, Virginia to get acquainted with the organization. Jerry Rankin, their president, personally greeted us and his associates gave us a red carpet welcome.

IMB is the largest Protestant mission organization. Its annual budget is over $250 million and it has sent out 5,300 career missionaries. The reason the president of such a large and successful organization welcomes members from a small church like ours is because we are a Korean-American church. Korean-American missionaries can go where Anglo missionaries can’t because of their skin color. Many countries are hostile to Westerners but less so to Asians. Additionally, Korean-American Christians have unmatched zeal for missions. The IMB has recognized this and picked Korean-American churches among many ethnic churches to work with.

The Pastor of Global Mission Church near Washington, D.C. played an important role in forming partnerships between the IMB and Korean-American churches. His church has already sent out 14 missionaries through the IMB. We spent half a day at GMC to learn from their experience.

The IMB staff was impressed by the fact that 16 people came at their own expense to visit the agency. I was surprised myself that so many people were willing to sacrifice their time and money for this visit. I am proud of them and our church for their missionary zeal. I want to especially thank KC Choi, who worked hard to make this visit possible.

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