One could hardly find a clearer example of the shift away from Western dominance in evangelical missions than the Korean World Missions ’92 conference, held earlier this summer at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. At the gathering, a follow-up to a similar conference held in 1988, speakers challenged 2,400 people, most of them Korean-American students, pastors, and missionaries, to join Christians from Asia, Africa, and Latin America at the head of the missions parade.

“As the political and economic climate changes, we also see a change in world missions,” said Dong Sun Lim, chairman of the Korean World Mission Council, a coalition of leaders from key Korean-American churches and sponsor of the event. “Previously the Western church and missions organizations played the dominant role. But now we see ‘Two-thirds World’ churches taking on a greater share of the responsibility of world evangelism, and among them, the Korean church taking a leading role. Because of the great blessings of God, both spiritual and material, upon the Korean church, I think it fitting that we contribute a greater share of our energy and resource to world mission.”

Worldwide Opportunities

According to the 1990 U.S. Census, about 800,000 people of Korean origin live in America, an increase of 125 percent in just ten years. Organizers of the Wheaton conference say there are about 2,500 Korean-American churches. Leaders pointed to the danger of the Korean church viewing missions merely as reaching other Koreans. But conference speakers repeatedly turned attention to worldwide missions opportunities.

Billy Kim, director of the Far East Broadcasting Company’s work in South Korea, pointed out that some of the largest churches in the world are in Korea. He ...

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