Pastors of English ministries (EM) in the Full Gospel North America Missions, which is affiliated with Yoido Full Gospel Church, gathered in Los Angeles from October 3 to 5 for the denomination’s first conference exclusively for English-speaking pastors in North America.
The conference, which took place at LA Full Gospel Church, featured sessions with Dr. Robeck Cecil, professor of church history and ecumenics at Fuller Theological Seminary; Rev. Paul Kim, founder and lead pastor of Aboriginal Church in Toronto; Rev. Kevin Haah, founder and pastor of New City Church; and Rev. Yoon Lee, assistant director of the World Mission Department at Yoido Full Gospel Church. A panel presentation with four EM pastors was also featured during the second night of the event, during which the presenters shared their faith and ministry journeys.
The conference also included a 'mini-concert' with worship leader and musician Brian Kim, and attendees joined first generation Korean members in worship at LA Full Gospel Church's Wednesday night service.
In particular, Robeck Cecil, who is ordained with the Assemblies of God, spoke on what it means for pastors to be pentecostal in the 21st century, and Yoon Lee explained the spiritual and organizational background of Yoido Full Gospel Church, and the EM pastors’ connection with the church.
“We wanted this conference to be a space where the pastors could get to know each other and see each others’ faces, and form connections in that way,” said Rev. Jacob Joo, the EM director of Full Gospel World Missions, explaining the choice of ‘Connextion’ as the theme of the conference. “We also wanted them to form deeper spiritual connections with God, and also to learn more about their own connection with Yoido Full Gospel Church.”
This is the first time the denomination had hosted such a gathering, and is a sign of increasing openness from the denomination’s leaders, who are first-generation Koreans, said Rev. Yoon Lee.
Thus far, EM pastors in the denomination had not had much of a platform to voice their opinions or be an active part of the denomination’s activities, according to Joo. The denomination’s leaders were supportive of hosting this conference in hopes that this would be a launching point for the English-speaking pastors to become more involved in denominational matters in the future.
“I think God is in the works of something,” Yoon Lee said to the group of about 30 English-speaking Korean pastors from the U.S. and Canada. “This [conference] is now on the radar of the leaders. We’re much more open than we were in the past.”
“I think something great is on the horizon and I want us to get there together,” he added.
Organizers are hoping to make the conference an annual occurrence.