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Missions Incredible South Korea sends more missionaries than… 
11th-Mar-2006 06:19 am

Missions Incredible
South Korea sends more missionaries than any country but the U.S. And it won't be long before it's number one.

Has anyone seen this article in the current issue of ChristianityToday? I saw the cover of the magazine but I haven't read the article yet. Here is the link: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2006/003/16.28.html

If you read it before I get around to it let me know what think. If other Koreans have a tendency to be like UBFers this could be a scary prospect. What does this say about the state of Christianity in America? Why are Koreans so anxious to go out as missionaries? Conversely, why are Americans so reluctant? Look forward to seeing what the article actually says and hearing your comments. Wonder if it mentions UBF?
13th-Mar-2006 06:18 am (UTC)
Here is some good analysis on Korean mission work from the same article. Korean missionaries have lone-ranger complex. All the problems underlined below can be directly applied to UBF ministry. When UBF sends out its missionaries, the missionaries work in order to expand UBF churches in other parts of the world instead of working hard to help indigenous people to establish their own churches with their own local leaders as other American and British missionaries did in Korean long time ago. All indigenous members of UBF are not only under the direct control of UBF but they are also stigmatized as ingrates or rebels whey they move to other churches. Samuel Lee effectively used this kind of expansion work to promote himself as a great servant of God with a great mission when in fact he was serving his own organizaion by making many students devote their lives to work for his UBF organization. We are not sure if he really worked hard to serve God and indigenous people or if he worked hard to protect his private organization and to expand the work of his private organization. Did he use UBF for God or for himself?

Lone-Ranger Complex
But that entrepreneurial spirit has its downsides. "We have many lone rangers," Moon says. "Many Korean missionaries are on their own. They will start their own ministry instead of joining a team."

Koreans often lack crosscultural competency as well, Moon says. Americans not only have missionary experience, but they also have crosscultural opportunities in their own country. Koreans come from a monocultural, monolingual country.

Korean congregations often send missionaries directly, without an outside or denominational agency. While this process makes local churches more mission conscious and helps them identify better with the outreach, it also creates problems. Mission scholars say some churches tend to view missionary church plants as extensions of the home church. In some congregations, serving on the mission field has even become a step on the ladder of pastoral promotions.

Korean competitiveness also has a double edge. Koreans' aspiration to outdo America may result in huge numbers of Korean missionaries, but as one missionary to Japan told CT, competitiveness among missionaries there has made it harder to raise up national church leaders in an already difficult environment.

In addition, Timothy Park, a professor at Fuller and director of its Korean-studies program, says recent Korean missionaries have not always followed the indigenous church principle that made the first missionaries to Korea so successful.

"They enjoy financial support and lose the sense of depending on God and doing their best to help their churches grow. They depend on [Korean missionaries] for support, and they are eventually controlled by the missionaries."

Missionaries start new churches by using Korean mission funds to lure members from other congregations. This way the missionaries can report successful church plants to their home churches.

But Korean mission leaders recognize these problems and are working to address them. To begin with, they are encouraging churches to send missionaries through agencies, which ensures quality training and also eliminates undue influence from the sending churches.
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