The Evangelical Church Alliance (ECA) hosted a seminar for Korean immigrant church pastors on August 20 at Light of Love Mission Church in Pasadena, with speakers from various Korean churches as well as some non-Korean speakers such as Dr. Scott Lemenager from the ECA and Dr. Daniel Newman from Azusa Pacific University (APU).
Speakers shared personal stories of the struggles they have faced while being in ministry, and encouraged the attendees to continue persevering.
For Lemenager, who serves as the special assistant to the president and as the clerk of the standards and credentials committee in the ECA, ministry has taken multiple shapes and forms throughout the years, and it didn’t always look the way he expected. When he and his wife went to the Urbana Conference in 1979, for instance, they felt compelled to become missionaries to Native Americans, he shared during one of the main sessions of the one-day seminar. But to this day, he and his wife still have not had the chance to directly minister to Native Americans.
Instead, Lemenager has ministered in different ways, as he has served as the father of not only 10 biological children but also 14 foster children and 10 foreign exchange students, and has served in four different denominations, with experience as a presbytery clerk in the Presbyterian Church of America (PCA).
“We realized calling is not restricted to a particular people or place. God will make a way for you to take care of all of your needs and also allow you to minister in whatever place you are at.”
“There is no small ministry with the Lord,” he added, encouraging pastors to remain faithful.
Daniel Newman, who has also had experience serving as a pastor of a Korean immigrant church, gave a brief word of encouragement and commended the pastors for persevering under the difficulties of serving at immigrant churches.
“Your labor is not in vain; the Lord sees you,” said Newman.
Rev. Kisup Kim, the senior pastor of L.A. Sarang Community Church, was also one of the main speakers in the morning session, during which he shared the lessons he learned during his many years as an associate pastor. Previous to his current position as a senior pastor, Kim had served 10 years as an associate pastor at a church in Australia, and 10 years as an associate pastor at Sarang Community Church in Anaheim. He encouraged pastors, no matter what position or title they may hold, to continually have an open mind and a teachable heart, and to always have ownership over the church and each specific department as if they were “on interview with God” each day.
Meanwhile, some 400 out of 2,000 credentialed pastors in the ECA are those of a minority ethnic group, most of whom are Korean, said Lemenager. The ECA is an alliance of ministers that ordains and credentials ministers but also accepts ministers of other denominations.