In 2008, the year I came to the UK, I immediately joined the Association of Korean Churches in England because I thought unity was important. When I was an associate member, the president pastor offered me to work with him as a secretary. Although I did not even know the types of stamps, I obediently started working as an executive. Now all announcements are made to members via Kakaotalk, but back then, we sent mails. Because I did not know how to use formal expressions in an official letter, I wrote it in a friendly essay style, starting with ‘Dear pastor, the weather has become warmer. I hope to see you at the upcoming event in this warm weather.’
I, who did not know any pastors in the UK, became as close as family with the executive pastors, and I quickly became aware of the situation of all Korean churches in the UK as the secretary’s role was to handle all administration. In addition, since the names of the president and secretary were always listed as the senders of the official letters, I was able to naturally promote myself and our church, being able to know all the pastors in just one year. It was indeed a God’s move.
Later on, I raised two sons at a late age, and as the church continued to grow, I had more work to do, so I did not have the time to serve as an executive of the association. I continued to refuse the position of chairman, but last year, I finally accepted, was elected vice-chairman and automatically succeeded to the position of chairman this year. People tend to refuse to be in chairman and other executive positions because it is a position of service rather than an honour. Nevertheless, since I have now taken the position, I will do my best to serve various Korean churches and pastors.
Compared to when I first served as an executive, the situation among the Korean churches is not so great. As visa laws changed, the number of young people in most churches reduced significantly, and the number of seniors also decreased because not many families are coming from Korea. Members of the Korean churches who had relationship problems began to flee to English churches, resulting in an overall decline in the number of church members. I hesitate to bring up and share stories about the church or ministry when I meet pastors because I fear it might challenge their already low morale.
Thus, as I accept the position of chairman and elect new executives, I want to comfort our pastors and give them the strength to move forward with hope and courage without being discouraged or pressured by God’s calling rather than holding many great external events. I would contact them frequently, pray by calling the names of the churches every day, meet regularly to serve warm meals, and create a space where we can share the difficulties of ministry with honesty and pray for one another.
The field of ministry will not change easily, so if we only look at the current situation, we will only continue to be discouraged. I think the greatest comfort for our pastors is to look together at God’s vision of what He is doing now and what He will do in the future. It is something that God must do for us.
“Please pray that the Lord will be with me throughout the year and that I can serve humbly and wisely.”