What I see after doing missions in Washington for a few years is that this land is very barren. It is hard to find a person who is newly born again, baptized, and has joined a church. Unfortunately, I find the situation is made more difficult due to the false teaching of churches.
I. Bible and Life
As I plant a church, I meet a lot of people who have no faith, people who have gone out of the church and have problems in life. I am working to illuminate their problems with the Word of God and find answers. However, there are many people who think that the Bible is the Bible and life is life. Faith is faith; reality is reality. What makes me sad is that people who have attended the church tend to have such thoughts. Their excuse is that many believers and even pastors do not live according to the Bible. The church that should be the light of the world and the lamp of people in the darkness is failing to shine. The church that should change the world as salt is trampled underfoot because it has lost its saltiness. Those who left the church and the Bible are ultimately responsible for their loss. However, if the church had carried out its proper role, it would have led many people to salvation. God’s Word is an unchanging standard of faith and life. We need a church that correctly teaches the Word of God in which is found man’s true salvation and happiness.
II. Church and Membership
I have heard that it is difficult to give statistics on how many members are in a Korean-American church. Often, one person has memberships in two or three churches. Many people easily move to another church in the same area according to their convenience and circumstances. Generally, churches have no interest in why the person left the former church. If a church is interested in the reason, the person feels discomfort and often moves to another church. Also, there are many people who just attend a church many years without joining as a member. A gentleman who had left the church many years ago visited our worship service. I asked him if he has ever been a member of a church. His proud answer was “I need God; I do not need a church.”
It is not easy to conclude, but in such a case, there is often no true faith in Jesus as Lord. For the identity of the saved is to be found in the body of Jesus. If one has the idea that he can serve God without going through Christ, he will not see the need for a church. However, Jesus Christ is the only way to go to the Heavenly Father. Many churches are just glad to see the increase in the number of people and blur the teachings of these biblical truths. Then the faith of the people does not grow correctly in Christ. It becomes very difficult to establish a healthy church in an area where such believers are many.
III. Hostility against Korean-American churches
I have been distributing a package with materials that introduce our mission church and its faith. But, if I introduce this as a church plant, most Korean-Americans have a sense of rejection at first. They want to end the conversation quickly with a lie saying they go to a church. Some people even say that they do not want to belong to a Korean-American church even though their first language is Korean. This is because of frequent immoral behaviors of some Korean-American churches which become known in the community. Many churches are separated by fighting over rights and interests. Some churches repeatedly call a pastor and drive him out in a couple of years. It seems to me that this land is getting more and more unfruitful because of those immature churches.
IV. Hope in Christ
It seems impossible for a healthy Reformed church to be established in this situation by man’s sight. However, there is nothing God cannot do. We walk by faith, not by sight. My mission is to continue preaching the holy Word of God and to see souls saved. When I read Early Church history, I am encouraged. “Praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved (Acts 2: 46-47).” Please pray that a Korean-American church, that worships rightly in God and is respected in the community, will be built in this region. Please pray for me to be a worthy pastor.
Rev. Myungjoong (Andy) Yong, Church Planter