When asked about how a church could serve younger generations, Pastor Paul Lee, the current pastor of the English ministry (EM) at Potter’s Community Church, focused on two main aspects: being selfless toward one another and simply enjoying ministry.
The Korean ministry (KM) at Potter’s, for example, has been exemplifying selflessness toward the EM, said Pastor Paul. To show support, the KM, which has a much larger congregation, has been investing in them financially, and has been providing food at various EM events, Pastor Paul said.
“For example, in our upcoming bike-riding activity to the beach, the KM will probably be providing food for us, like kimbap,” said Pastor Paul.
He further explained that the KM has been like a parent to the EM, and that they had always been a good supporter whenever EM needed their help. The two ministries have had many activities together, such as picnics, beach trips, and Christmas festivities. Pastor Paul said that Pastor Patrick Lim, the senior pastor of Potter’s, is likely a major influence to the KM’s approach toward EM.
“Pastor Lim tries to educate the first generation to sacrifice for the next generation,” he said. “I think the older generation needs to show the second generation first hand what it means to sacrifice. I believe this is the Jesus way – there might no promise of return, but sacrificing first despite that.”
He added that the EM also must show selflessness and humility to the KM. “Neither can demand sacrifice, but both can offer it,” said Pastor Paul.
Pastor Paul explained that the KM and EM relationship is important because it is one of the factors that may affect young people’s decision to stay in or leave the church. He said that young people may feel slightly uncomfortable in the presence of adults, and that when the older members of the church intentionally make an effort to show they care about and want to invest in the younger generation, it will make a difference.
“Church also just needs to be fun and exciting,” he added. “Young people face so many temptations in the world, and church could offer better alternatives to those temptations.”
“It’s difficult because these temptations are ‘cool.’ They don’t understand how it has a grip on them or what it means to be truly free. They understand freedom in the sense of having the freedom to do those things, but they don’t understand that true freedom is being able to say, ‘I don’t need those things.’”
Indeed, Pastor Paul has been to jailhouses, lawyer’s offices, and courthouses while serving younger people. But he said that one of the greatest joys that he has experienced serving in EM is seeing young people such as these be transformed by Christ and see them growing and thriving in Him, he explained.
Group Bible studies and sharing time, basketball, playing pool, and ping pong are among some of the activities that Pastor Paul has been organizing to create a space where EM members can have fun within the church, and also have fellowship with one another. He said that the EM is even trying to develop judo, taekwondo, and personal training activities.
Other than the activities, Pastor Paul added that the leadership’s excitement for ministry also has an effect on the church members. Pastor Paul encouraged pastors to enjoy ministry together by developing trusting and supportive relationships with each other. “Ministry itself is so difficult; with no partnership, it would be even more so,” he said.
“When pastors and leaders are having fun, kids will naturally want to join in on the fun,” he explained. “And our spiritual walk should be enjoyable.”
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." --Hebrews 12:1-3
This is one in a series of interviews with southern California pastors who either serve in English ministry (EM) or have a heart for the intergenerational relationship between Korean ministry (KM) and EM. As the generation of the Korean church is shifting from the first to the second generation, what are the obstacles that are hindering the English ministry from flourishing? How can EM and KM pastors work together to build up the second-generation church? These are among the many questions that these pastors grapple with, and that Christianity Daily is hoping to wrestle together with through these interviews.