The guest speaker will be a South Korean pastor, Sun Ro Kim of Han Ma Eum Baptist Church where about 1,500 people participate in Sunday morning worship in the city of Chuncheon in the country's Kangwon province.
"His specialty is evangelism and planting churches," said Chongoh Aum, executive director of the Korean Council, which encompasses about 1,000 Southern Baptist churches in North and South America. "He has started many churches."
About 40 Korean Southern Baptist churches are in the Washington, D.C., metro area. Members from those churches will provide meals for pastors, leaders and their families attending the Korean Council's sessions, which include children and youth activities at the Westin Baltimore Airport Hotel, 1110 Old Elkridge Landing Road in Linthicum, Md.
Colossian 1:28-29 is this year's Scripture verse: "We proclaim Him, warning and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone mature in Christ. I labor for this, striving with His strength that works powerfully in me" (HCSB).
This year's meeting will include the election of officers and the once-every-four-years election of the executive director. Aum said he is willing to serve another term; no other candidates have announced.
"We want to go to New Orleans, to be with the SBC annual meeting," Aum said, "but in New Orleans, only two Korean churches." A sizable number of Korean churches is needed with enough members to prepare the quantity of Korean food needed for the gathering.
"Next year we will be in Houston," Aum said, referring to the host city of 2013's annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Aum expressed his regret that the annual meetings of the Korean Council and the SBC were set for the same dates. Leaders of the Korean Council would prefer to meet on different dates when unable to meet in the same city, so that Korean pastors could participate in the SBC sessions, Aum said.
"Maybe five or 10 Korean pastors will attend the SBC this year," the Korean Council executive director said. "This year, we don't have a choice." To accommodate the large number of attendees with children and teens wanting to come to the Washington, D.C., area, the meeting needed to wait until children were out of school, Aum said.
Because of the conflict with the SBC annual meeting, no leaders from the International Mission Board or the North American Mission Board are expected to make presentations at the Korean Council this year. Because of room availability at the hotel, no small group breakout sessions have been planned.
About 400 people participated at the 2011 annual meeting of the Council of Korean Baptist Churches in America, which took place at New Song Church in Carrollton, Texas. Of the 190 churches represented, 52 committed to the "Embrace" initiative of the International Mission Board for unengaged, unreached people groups, as challenged by Tom Elliff, the IMB's president. A report on the churches' Embrace efforts is expected at the 2012 meeting.
Karen L. Willoughby is managing editor of the Louisiana Baptist Message.
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