New Life Fellowship and Seoul Baptist Church are not two separate churches but two different language groups under one church. We use two different names for convenience but there is only one church (Seoul Baptist Church of Houston) with two congregations: the English Speaking Congregation (ESC) and Korean Speaking Congregation (KSC).
We should exist as one church because we want to be obedient to the Lord. The night before he was crucified Jesus prayed: “Father, just as you are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me (John 17:21).” Sadly, many churches have failed to be one. It’s a sad fact that 70% of Korean Churches in North America were created as the result of a church split. When the world sees so much disharmony, it’s no wonder why it can’t believe that Jesus came from God!
It’s not easy for two congregations to coexist as one church. It’s hard for two families to live under one roof, especially when they speak different languages. But we welcome the challenge. If two congregations with as different mixes of culture and ethnicity coexist peacefully as one church, it will be a tremendous testimony to the outside world that Jesus indeed came from God.
It takes effort for that to happen. I’ve been posting an English translation of my Pastor’s Corner on the ESC’s website to let them know me better. Representatives from both congregations recently met and agreed to each send one member to the other congregation’s monthly council meetings as observers to better understand each other’s ministry and find more ways to cooperate.
Being one does not mean we must do everything together. In fact, the ESC will soon hire their own children’s minister. Until now we have had a single children’s department which used English since the children from the ESC do not understand Korean. This has posed difficulties to the teachers from the KSC who lack proficiency in English. Cultural differences also caused some conflicts from time to time between teachers from the KSC and parents from the ESC.
The ministerial staff decided that it is best for the ESC to hire their own pastor. For the time being this pastor will minister only to children from the ESC. However, after the ESC builds their own sanctuary and education building and are able to recruit enough teachers, children from the KSC will be given the option of enrolling at their Sunday school. Of course, children from the ESG are welcome at the KSG Sunday schools both now and in the future. Parents will be able to choose.
I hope that our church, by worshiping as one, continues to be a strong testimony to the outside world that Jesus really came from God.
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