In order to build a new church for the next generation, we first have to teach our children how to take “a sense of ownership” over our church. It was saddening to see our children considering themselves as guests in the church rather than considering the church as their forever family. This was the reason we let our children escape from the small corner room and let them use the main sanctuary for worship service. We wanted them to develop an identity of being an independent English congregation.
However, we were not able to find an English Speaking minister, so we had to take a step back. While crouching down in front of this difficult challenge, I began to look at our current situation from a different perspective and realized that there are other things we can do as of now. In fact, I began to see that ‘this could be a time of blessing to us’. I came to discover other churches in a similar boat like us. These churches intentionally combined worship service with the youth and adults so that the current generation could share and pass down their faith to the next generation. The worship format was just like Hanmaum church; service was offered in Korean and was translated live into English.
And they were bearing good fruits from this effort. The current generation's testimonies and faith were flowing down to the next generation. In return, the young generation's passion and challenge were transforming the current generation . The young generation overcame the language barrier and was being double-blessed from both the English and Korean congregation. But can the young generation still take ownership over the church even if they are with the older generation? Could the next generation still have the passion for worship service even if service is offered in Korean? Their answer was “yes”.
But then why don't we see this happening at Hanmaum church? It makes me wonder. Hanmaum church and the churches mentioned above were in similar situations where cross-generations were mingled together; nonetheless, we are not bearing the same fruits as them. I think it is how we perceive the situation that makes this difference. It is a matter of whether ‘we succumb to the situation’ or ‘challenge it with faith’. It is this attitude that makes a difference today.
And it is a person of such an attitude that God is searching for now: someone like King David who rises up to difficult situations with faith rather than submitting to it. I think I should be the first to change. I need to shift my perspective when facing the challenging situation that God has allowed. I should take this as an opportunity and learn to fight with faith.
But I am not saying that I will just surrender to reality and get comfortable with where we are now. What I mean is that we should deal with the issues at hand with faith until God shows us the next challenge, the next step. If we continue on with this challenge, then I am sure that God will open the next step forward.
Following the shepherd…
Pastor Jiwon Choi