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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 07:16 am (UTC)
These following quotes seem to show that many Korean missionaries are very prideful about their identity as Koreans. They put the focus on what they are doing rather than boasting about their identity in Christ and what He is doing through them. As one Korean pastor was quoted as saying, "There is no such thing as Korean missions," there is only Christian missions.

Lone-Ranger Complex
Steve Moon, director of the Korea Research Institute for Missions, says Korean missionaries love the romance and adventure of pioneering mission work. Their role model is Horace G. Underwood, the first Presbyterian missionary to Korea.

"When Korean missionaries go out to the field, they want to be the first missionary, especially as a Korean," says Moon. "We are strong in starting new projects."

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.

This tension is not unusual in the history of missions. "Wherever there is a renewal or revival anywhere in the world, it results in missions," says C. Douglas McConnell, dean of Fuller Seminary's School of Intercultural Studies. Each emerging church has tried to export its characteristics to other places, says McConnell, who recently co-authored The Changing Face of World Missions.

South Korea's rapid church growth in the '70s and '80s led to a remarkable missionary consciousness, but it will take some maturing before it becomes as effective as it could be.

Some Koreans are starting to host forums to discuss what Korean missions should look like in the future. "In terms of theology and missiology, in terms of methods, we may not be unique," says David Lee, director of Global Missionary Training Center, which trains about 7 percent of Korean missionaries. "But it's uniquely Koreans doing this with Korean structure, with Korean church support, with Korean zeal and Korean spirituality, which is willing to suffer and willing to shout to God with perseverance."

However, others believe missions are missions. "There is no such thing as Korean missions," says one well-respected Korean pastor.
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