Facing low birth rates, decline in youth, Korean mission movement strategizes how to raise the next generation of missionaries

By CDI Staff |
The Korean World Missionary Conference held by KWMF in collaboration with Handong University in 2021
The Korean World Missionary Conference held by KWMF in collaboration with Handong University in 2021. | KWMF

One of the major challenges facing the Korean church is the issue of "revival of the next generation" and "faith succession," which is also becoming a significant issue in the field of overseas missions. As the number of young people in churches decreases, mobilizing them as missionary resources to ensure the continuity of Korean missions has become an increasingly urgent issue.

To discuss these challenges, the Korean World Missionary Fellowship (KWMF) will hold a missionary conference on the theme of "Next Generation Mission Leadership" at Korea Theological Seminary based in Cheonan from April 24 to 27. The conference will be chaired by Pastor Doho Bang, Missionary and President of KWMF.

KWMF stated, "The crisis of population decline due to low birth rates in Korea is not an exception in the missionary field. Nevertheless, the commandment of the Lord for the commission of mission must continue, making the establishment of next-generation missionary leadership a very important task for the Korean church."

Pastor Bang explained the purpose of this missionary conference as "a gathering where Korean missionary leaders, leaders of the Korean Church and leaders from around the world come together to discuss issues related to missions for the next generation and explore ways to involve the next generation in the missionary field."

He further added, "This conference is not only focused on the development of human resources needed for missionary work but also aims to pass on the efforts and dedication of previous missionary generations through the link of 'missions' to young missionaries and candidates for missions, as well as those who desire missions, to prevent them from repeating the mistakes of previous generations."

KWMF had recently held a working meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, attended by the planning and organizing committees, as well as the cooperative general manager and secretary-general, to finalize the details of the missionary conference, including reviewing the contents of previous online meetings.

The committee members, judging that the lack of preparedness, systematization, professional data, and cohesive links of intensive work in each country's missionary field make it difficult to ensure the continuity of missions, planned the program of this missionary conference with a focus on deriving alternatives.

Pastor Seung-rak Choi (President of Korea Theological Seminary), Pastor Nam-soo Kim (Founder of 4/14 Window), Pastor Soo-hoon Lee (Permanent Representative of the World HolyCity Movement), and Pastor Kyung-kyu Choi (Representative of MK·PK Vision Camp) will serve as keynote speakers at the conference, while Pastor Yeo Joo-bong (Senior Pastor of Vine Church) and Missionary Jae-heung Song (Director of Overseas Missions, Korea Church Mission) will serve as lecturers for specific topics.

In addition to panel discussions on various topics and exchanging opinions, there will be daily morning lectures on spirituality during the conference, with Pastor Sung-joon Ko (Senior Pastor of Suwon Hana Church), Pastor Mun-soo Son (Senior Pastor of Dongtan Full Gospel Church), and Pastor Jung-gon Park (Senior Pastor of Geoje Gohyun Church) serving as lecturers.

KWMF highlighted, "A unique feature of this conference is that through three optional lectures, missionaries, missionary candidates, and the next generation actively involved in missionary work will have time to contemplate together. The nine optional lecture instructors feature young instructors who will connect the current generation with the next generation like midfielders in soccer."

KWMF expressed hopes that this conference would be a starting point for the next generation to take on the challenge and pride of becoming missionaries, stating, "Although the environment may not be favorable, there have always been and will continue to be those who respond to God's calling. We hope that many next-generation missionary leaders with a passion for the gospel and wisdom of the Word will emerge through this missionary conference."

Secretary-General of KWMF, Missionary Geun-hee Lee, expressed hopes for the participation of not only field missionaries but also theology students interested in missions and prospective missionary candidates, as well as pastors in charge of mission departments and related department officials from each church, emphasizing, "Their interest and participation may determine the landscape of Korean and global missions in the next 5, 7, or 10 years." 

Originally published by Christian Daily Korea, translated and edited by Christian Daily International.