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Welcome! The primary purpose of this blog is to explore and encourage around what it means to be winsome and sent into the world for God's glory. If you are new here, the definition of "lighthouse-searchlight" or our missional journey is a good place to start. Come peruse the blog and add me to your RSS feed!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

pomoko

I've been getting to know a fellow pastor, Mark Lee. Mark has been called to pastor a Korean church plant in my presbytery. We've had several occasions to visit and talk about our respective churches. I knew some of the challenges that Korean congregations face, but when I heard Mark describe them I heard with new ears.

In many Korean churches, there is a distinct generation gap between "first generation" immigrants and their children and grandchildren, who are far more westernized. Often the elder generation speaks exclusively Korean, though they understand some English. The younger generations grow up in mainstream schools and learn English as a first language. I have been so impressed with Mark's vision (and his elders' vision) to bridge between the older and younger generations and engage the diverse American culture around them rather than remain in a Korean-American bubble.

None of this is too surprising or new to anyone familiar with immigrant churches, but here's the thing that hit me in a new way. As Mark described the challenges and his own place as an approx. 40 year old English-speaking pastor, raised in Philadelphia, and called to a bi-lingual setting, I thought of my own self-description as being a (not quite) 40 yr. old pastor with one foot in my parents' "modern" culture and one foot in the emerging, post-modern (pomo) culture. There are only a few of us who are "bi-lingual" when it comes to this modern/post-modern divide. Many, many churches are finding it easier to retreat to the traditional/modern bubble of 1950s church and not dare to speak into the alien culture of their children and grandchildren. And so you have mainline churches with an average age of something like 58. Meanwhile, emergent churches are doing their own thing, often with nary a person over the age of 30 (much less 50).

I share Mark's vision for his Korean congregation to figure out how to be one family that engages the neighbors all around them. I have a vision for my congregation to continue to work at being one family that also engages the neighbors all around us. It's a tough thing to hold together when half your church speaks one langage and half speaks another, but we are bound together by the Holy Spirit and rooted in the Word of God, which transcends culture, language, and generations.

Another point of connection with Mark: I've been squeezing the lighthouse/searchlight metaphor for a year and a half now (I'm sure my congregation is weary of it!). I've been praying for us to kindle and bear the light of Christ more and more brightly for our neighbors in South Charlotte. When Mark told me the name of his congregation, I just had to laugh at God's sense of timing and humor (I guess humor IS 90% timing)... Mark is pastor of Church of the True Light - yes, we have much in common!

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