Dong Shin Presbyterian Church of Southern California and Korea Campus Crusade for Christ (KCCC, or SOON Movement) signed a memorandum of understanding on Friday as a promise to partner together in ministering to the younger generation. KCCC had already moved its central offices from Los Angeles into a portion of Dong Shin's property in Fullerton, and Dong Shin agreed to provide KCCC with a worship space, offices, a music studio, and other necessities for its ministry.
KCCC and local Korean churches have had an 'uncomfortable' relationship over the years due to the question of who will be able to utilize and build up resourceful college students. Korean churches would feel that their college students are being taken away by KCCC, and KCCC would feel that they are misunderstood by the church. As almost a reflection of that, though KCCC has had churches that have supported the ministry over the years, this is the first time in KCCC's 45-year history that a local church has decided to form a missional partnership with the ministry through an MOU.
In response to the question, "Haven't local Korean churches avoided partnering with mission organizations over the years?" at the press conference after the MOU signing, Rev. Jung Woo Baek, the senior pastor of Dong Shin, responded, "That's a very good question."
"When we can't understand one another, there will inevitably be conflict," Baek said. "But when we are well aware of why we are doing what we are doing, we can overcome the conflicts."
"If there is no 'next generation,' both the local churches and the mission organizations will be faced with a crisis," he continued. "If, by learning from KCCC's ministry, passion, and strategies, the partnership is beneficial for building God's kingdom, we are willing to bear with any slight discomfort."
"According to our statistics, about 75 to 80 percent of Korean Americans leave the church once they go into college," said Dong Whan Kim, the national director of KCCC. "We believe that by working together with local churches, we can help the second generation Korean Americans to look past any negative thoughts they had towards the first generation Korean church." Kim added that the partnership also will help to reduce much of KCCC's administrative and operational costs.
This MOU is focused on ministering to the younger generation through college campuses. KCCC will provide training programs for Dong Shin's college students and assist in developing strategies for college ministry. The ministry will also provide any resources and materials to assist in evangelizing and ministering to college students in the church and in the campus. Dong Shin, meanwhile, will 'adopt' a nearby university as a mission field and help KCCC's ministry through praying, giving, and participating.
"Our church tried to evangelize to students at Cal State University of Fullerton (CSUF), which is near our church, but the results weren't very fruitful. We're hopeful that this partnership will help our church's college ministry to grow," shared Young Do Shin, an elder at Dong Shin.
The MOU is binding for two years, unless the two parties mutually agree to continue the relationship for an extended period. Changes to the MOU must be in writing, signed and dated by a representative from both parties, the MOU states.
10 pastors and elders from Dong Shin, and 20 staff from KCCC were present at the MOU signing ceremony. KCCC is planning to build missional partnerships with other Korean churches in the region and share strategies in evangelizing and ministering to college students.
This article has been translated by Rachael Lee. For the original in Korean, visit kr.christianitydaily.com.