The fostering of nationwide networks among Asian-American church leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) moved forward during an inaugural Asian-American Church Planting & Cooperative Program (A2CP2) Conference at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS).
Paul Kim and Daniel Im were two of the featured speakers at the A2CP2 sessions.
Kim is the Asian-American relations consultant with the SBC Executive Committee, a trustee of SWBTS and a former Boston-area pastor; Im is director of church multiplication for LifeWay Christian Resources and for NewChurches.com and teaching pastor at The Fellowship in Nashville.
Also highlighting the importance of evangelism, discipleship and unity in advancing God’s Kingdom at the April 9 conference at Southwestern’s campus in Fort Worth, Texas, were Paige Patterson, the seminary’s president, and Doug Carver, retired U.S. Army chief of chaplains and now executive director of chaplaincy for the SBC’s North American Mission Board.
Paul Kim, Asian-American relations consultant with the SBC Executive Committee, tells “A2CP2” conference attendees, “Although many of our Southern Baptist churches are small, if we work together cooperatively, we can do greater things for the Kingdom of God.”
Kim, in his message to the 40 conference attendees, emphasized the importance of church-driven evangelism and missions.
Today’s believers must “get back to God and His Word for His mission. Before the Lord returns, we need to see more church planting, more evangelism and more missions,” Kim said.
“Our nation is broken,” he said, “and it needs to be rebuilt by the power of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.”
Kim appealed for cooperation among the nearly 2,000 Asian-American churches in the SBC, noting that together they can support larger ministries that cannot be sustained by individual churches.
“Although many of our Southern Baptist churches are small, if we work together cooperatively, we can do greater things for the Kingdom of God,” he said. “I want us to think together and work together as a denomination.”
Im, in his message, said the empowerment of the Holy Spirit and church unity and community are indispensable for the healthy growth of a church.
“What we need to understand is that the power of the Holy Spirit is for ‘us,’“ Im said. “It’s always about a singular Holy Spirit filling up the plural ‘us.’ We receive the Holy Spirit not as an individual superpower, but as part of the body [of Christ].”
Patterson spoke on the judgment seat of Christ, explaining that the “bema,” the Greek word for judgment seat, was actually used to describe military reviewing platforms in Greco-Roman cities. He encouraged the audience to live as soldiers who would merit eternal rewards in heaven.
“Only what is done for Christ will last,” Patterson said. “We need to spend these days getting ready for the return of Christ, and for the bema, the judgment seat of Christ, where we will appear to give an account for how we lived for Him. And we will receive rewards for that which we have done for Christ.”
Carver addressed the topic of spiritual warfare and mobilization, drawing four points for victorious spiritual warfare from Ephesians 6: maintaining a war footing; knowing the strategy of the enemy; staying in spiritual combat uniform; and upholding a persistent warfare mentality.
Carver also underscored the importance of cultivating the heart of Jesus for the lost in mobilizing for ministry. “Mobilization is about seeing the need in the crowds and feeling that compassion moving us to do something,” he said. “People are dying and going to hell. They are self-destructive. … There’s an urgency, but the workers are few. We have to ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into the field.”
At the conference’s conclusion, Kim told the audience that it was just the beginning of Asian-American networking for church planting and cooperation in the SBC.
“We are going to continue on to the next journey,” he said. “We are going to pursue and continue to work together in unity together as one body by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
A subsequent A2CP2 conference was held April 29-30 in Oklahoma City. The next will be held May 24-27 in Ohio. A2CP2 conferences currently are scheduled next year at four of the SBC’s seminary campuses, Aug. 23 at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C.; Sept. 21 at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.; Oct. 3 at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo.; and Oct. 10 at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Kim said an A2CP2 conference also will be scheduled at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in California.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Eunsun Han writes for Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Baptist Press senior editor Art Toalston contributed to this article.)