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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church


    Perspectives: South Korea Trip 2017

    Are We Accessible?

    August 22, 2017 / By Rev. Nola Anderson, Crossroads District Superintendent

    It is said, “one of the best ways to learn a foreign language is to fully immerse yourself into the culture of the people who speak the language best.”

    I believe the same principle applies to learning about congregations that are growing and thriving. You want to be around people who know about and have experienced church growth. You want to be in the conversation when the next church planter is born. You want your ears to be accustomed to listening for the next great idea that is going to revolutionize the church of Jesus Christ.

    The visit to South Korea provided this and gave me the profound opportunity to experience God in another cultural setting; with a unique style of praise and worship. I experienced what is meant by worship begins when the church gathers together to worship Jesus, as Lord. I encountered what it means to worship in spirit and in truth and to live one’s life in worship to the Lord Jesus Christ. I experienced what every act of integrity during the work week looks like in varying ways. This was evident during the daily 5 am worship, in every step along the extra mile, in every impression of excellence left as they willfully and graciously volunteered to provide the best hospitality for God’s people and in service to God.

    I was reminded that worship is being a good steward of our resources and an opportunity to learn and grow. It is putting God first in everything and seeking God’s guidance in every endeavor before we do anything else. It is recognizing   everyday as a new opportunity to see the power and majesty of God. It is an invitation to live with the awareness of God’s presence. 

    The pastors and members of Bupyeong Methodist Church understand and demonstrated this fully well. In its 77 years this congregation has produced 88 Pastors and planted 14 local congregations. In addition, they have sponsored 6 missionaries and their families in 5 countries.

    We were told of a church plant which started with a pastor and his family and now has an attendance of over 200 in worship. This church was built in an underdeveloped area. A few years after the church was planted some housing developments, a school, as well as several businesses were established in that area. A humbling reminder that God is always calling us beyond what we can see with our naked eyes and the need to have the faith and courage to move with the power and presence of God.

    On the last day in South Korea, at the 5am worship, Rev. Hong shared from Numbers 11:25-29. He spoke of Moses being filled with the Holy Spirit: Moses speaking to God and God speaking to Moses. References were made of several others who heard God speaking to them. He concluded the message by stating Samuel asked God to speak to him and God did. He reminded the congregation that God still speaks to us and encouraged us to ask God to speak to us.

     I left worship that morning convinced that sometimes our need for certainty is so overpowering that it becomes a barrier to hearing God speak to us. We cannot hear God’s voice because we are so full of our own.

    In addition to attending daily spirit-filled worship, we were blessed to learn about some of the rich culture and journey to Christianity. The sites visited were also rich in history, creativity, advanced technology and much more. However, what touched me most is the depth of their commitment to Jesus Christ from which everything flows. God is first in all that they do- from the insignificant to the greatest.

    TOPIC / South Korea Trip 2017

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    With more than 168,000 members, the Upper New York Annual (Regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church comprises 867 local churches and 65 new faith communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our mission is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."