Christ Central Network hosted its first conference from November 6 to 8 at Christ Central of Southern California, marking the beginnings of a network to support and resource Asian American pastors and ministries.
This first conference, themed, “Ordinary Evangelism and Its Extraordinary Effects,” had three goals, organizers said: to train and equip leaders and churches for more effective evangelism; to celebrate and encourage gospel collaboration; and to cast a vision and discuss details about what the network will look like together with pastors who are interested in joining the network.
Hence, the first night and the Sunday services on the third day were open to any lay members and leaders who wanted to worship and learn more on how to effectively share the gospel, while the second day was focused more on training leaders on how to cultivate a culture of active evangelism within their ministries. The second day also featured an intimate gathering of some 40 pastors who brainstormed together on what this network would practically look like.
The network was birthed by the collaboration of three key leaders: Rev. Harold Kim, the senior pastor of Christ Central of Southern California; Rev. Owen Lee, the senior pastor of Christ Central Presbyterian Church, Virginia; and Rev. Ben Kim, the senior pastor of Christ Central Presbyterian Church, San Francisco. These leaders launched the network in hopes to provide resources and relational support for younger Asian American pastors.
“I remember when we were in our early 30s,” said Rev. Harold Kim. “We often felt lonely, and we wished that there would be someone who can mentor and guide us.”
Indeed, when asked, “If there was one thing that you could take away from this network, what would that be?” during the vision casting meeting, many of the pastors said they would like “direct access to an older pastor,” rather than a loose coalition or gathering that only provides general conferences.
“I would want to be able to contact an older pastor to ask them about some of the specific problems that I’m facing,” said one pastor during the meeting. Some pastors mentioned that they would like guidance on the process of an English ministry evolving into an independent church.
CCN is still in its formation stages, however, and specifics in terms of membership, affiliation, and format have not yet been set in stone. Some things are certain, however, including the fact that the network does not aim to be a denomination -- only a relational and financial support network. Holding a conference on a regular basis is another aspect the key leaders have guaranteed, and for the upcoming year, the key leaders are planning to help two to three churches particularize to become a church -- whether it’s an English ministry trying to become independent, or a church plant.
“We were only expecting our three Christ Central churches and then one or two more churches to show up,” said Rev. Harold Kim, “but we saw a much larger turnout than we expected. We were very pleasantly surprised and blessed. Now, there’s a lot to do, but what the key leaders will be discussing over the next month are, what are the few things that we can do right now? There is such a wide range of needs, but what are the few that we can hone in on?”
“The turnout during the conference tells us a lot about the fact that there definitely is an itch and a need for something like this [network],” said Ted Vaughn, a consultant who is working alongside the key leaders to form the network. Some 450 attended the first night of the conference, while some 100 pastors and leaders attended the second day. Over a dozen local churches were represented.