Recently, American churches have been establishing Korean ministries, and Creekside Church, located in Mountlake Terrace, WA, is one of them. Crossroads Korean Church recently merged together with Creekside to form its Korean ministry.
“I’m looking forward to being wholly focused on sharing of the gospel as we become one with Creekside Church as a multi-ethnic church,” said Pastor Chil-Gon Kim, the former senior pastor of Crossroads, and now the lead pastor for the Korean ministry at Creekside. “We’ll be one united church for the purpose of evangelizing to our community and to the world, as one body in faith.”
Pastor Kim said that he hopes to serve the body with the vision of “Discover, Faith, Love,” sharing the gospel, and making disciples of all nations.
Below are responses from an interview with Pastor Kim and Pastor Jason Deuman, the lead pastor of Creekside Chuch.
Q: How did your two churches begin to work together and build a relationship with each other?
CGK: Creekside Korean Church is within Creekside church as a Korean ministry and campus. Hence, it is not two churches working together, but one church in terms of finance, programs, missions, discipleship training, and community service, with one faith and functioning as one body.
Q: What is the purpose that Creekside Korean Church desires to pursue?
CGK: There are a lot of different reasons people give for the decrease in the 21st century church, including church hopping, program-based megachurches, decrease in the first generation believers, and second generation members leaving the church. The churches that are being affected the most are the pastors and congregation of the smaller sized churches.
These are some of the problems that Creekside Korean Ministries wants to tackle as a local church, as a multi-ethnic church with multiple languages (English, Korean, and Spanish). We want to be one body and help the church to grow by sharing the gospel.
Q: What is the purpose and goal for Creekside Church as a whole?
JD: There are six goals that Creekside is hoping to achieve. First, we want to worship as a lifestyle of fearing the Lord. And our strategy to fulfill that is applying into our lives what we learn on Sundays. Second, we want to spiritually grow by learning how to become like Jesus so that we can live like Him. Our strategy to fulfill that is taking opportunities for my faith to grow more deeply. Third, we want do ministry by using our spiritual gifts to build the church. Our strategy is to be actively involved in ministry teams.
Fourth, we want to be a community that loves one another through relationships. Our strategy foster the community to become one united group. Fifth, we want to partake in outreach by telling the people of the world who Jesus is. Our strategy is letting Him be known in every conversation. Sixth, we want to serve the community by using our spiritual gifts to love our neighbors. Our strategy is becoming involved in community service projects.
Q: What is something that is distinct about Creekside Church?
JD: One of the things about Creekside that sets it apart from other churches is that the week before the sermon on Sundays, we have a ‘free speech meeting’ on Wednesdays. During these meetings, we gather to discuss one big idea that will be preached during the next week’s Sunday sermon. For the purpose of the gospel being preached, all of the staff and different ministries gather together to focus on this one big idea. So during this time, the sermons that are being prepared include those for the English service, Spanish service, Korean service, and Sunday school, so all of these sermons are united under one message. And the topic that is focused on during this meeting is also discussed during small group Bible study sessions.
Creekside Church also has the Korean service at the same time as the English service. The Korean services will begin on February 4, 2015, at the Mountlake Creekside Campus at 11:15 AM. The focus of the Korean campus will be to minister to college students and the next generation, that through them, the church will further be able to devote itself to the gospel and understanding people from all kinds of backgrounds. We hope that they’ll be the leaders who can lead Creekside to be the embodiment of Jesus’ love that serves the surrounding community.
Q: What’s an advantage of an American church that has a Korean ministry?
CGK: Because Creekside has English and Korean services at the same time within the same church, it’s beneficial for families who have first and second generation Koreans, and couples who have married interracially. Sunday school, youth groups, college services, missions, small group Bible studies, and the like are all under one system.
Q: What are some future plans and hopes for Creekside Church?
JD: Right now, Creekside has been participating in short-term service work to help those living in low-income apartments, and we also have been involved in Union Gospel Mission, a ministry to reach out to our community.
Something we want to plan for is creating a platform to do a long-term ministry as one body with all of the different ethnicities in the church. Just like the way we have Spanish and Korean ministries, we want to create a space for other ethnic groups to do ministry, and resolve cultural differences within our identity in Jesus Christ. Though conflicts or tensions might arise due to cultural differences under that kind of model, I believe we can do good works as a church by our obedience to Christ. And in that perspective, I would say that our church is a missional one.