This summer, the Committee on Mission to the World called Dr. Lloyd Kim to serve as the next coordinator of Mission to the World (MTW), pending his election by the 2015 General Assembly. Dr. Kim grew up in California, in a Christian family. His parents, Korean immigrants, were the first Korean family in their town. He graduated from University of California at Berkeley and worked as a consultant with Ernst & Young before getting his M.Div. at Westminster Seminary California and his doctorate at Fuller Theological Seminary. He has served MTW as a missionary in the Philippines and then in Cambodia, where he became team leader. At the time of his call, he was MTW’s international director of Asia-Pacific. Dr. Kim and his wife, Eda, a medical doctor, are the parents of three children: Kaelyn, Christian, and Katy.
We asked Dr. Kim to share his thoughts about his early days in his new call.
You’ve been involved in missions for a long time. What do you see that’s encouraging? And what discourages you?
At a global level, what is encouraging is seeing the growth and prominence of the church in the majority world, not only evangelizing in their own countries, but also sending missionaries to other nations. In many ways we are seeing the fruit of the labors of so many who have labored in earlier generations.
On a more personal level, what is encouraging is seeing people come to faith. Watching the transformation of a person once living in fear to experiencing the freedom of the Gospel never gets old. What is equally encouraging is seeing churches form in contexts of extreme opposition. There is a solidarity and depth to these communities that is beautiful and inspiring.
What is discouraging is seeing sin, pride, and apathy in my own heart and life. The paradox of living on the mission field is being surrounded by evidence of God’s presence and power and yet often struggling with depression, loneliness, and fear. Equally discouraging is seeing Satan sow seeds of division, bitterness, and resentment among God’s people serving together. Oftentimes our biggest challenge is working through our own besetting sins in order to have a credible testimony.
Every denomination is involved in mission. Does the PCA bring something unique?
I believe the strength of the PCA is our emphasis on the doctrines of grace. We certainly do not have a monopoly on grace or Gospel-centered ministries, but I do believe it is what makes us unique from many other denominations engaged in foreign missions. I am not simply referring to our theological orthodoxy, but a culture of grace that affects where our sense of security and value lie, how we relate to our host countries, how we work together, what the essence of our message is, and what the churches we plant and help to plant look like.
You’ve spent a lot of time in the majority world. If you could make some adjustments to the way we think about missions, what would they be?
What I have learned from my brothers and sisters in the majority world is to focus first on relationships rather than strategies and objectives. A relational approach to missions may feel inefficient and slow to our Western sensibilities, but I believe it produces greater, longer lasting fruit and kingdom advancement than a goals-oriented approach.
What are the first things you are doing as MTW coordinator-designate?
Listening, praying, learning …
Are there particular things you are learning that stand out?
I am learning that we are a diverse group of people, with strong convictions about ministry and missions. The question we need to answer is, “How do we move forward together?”
For more information visit mtw.org.