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RESOURCE CENTER AND ARCHIVES

Korean Baptist church opens doors to capital citycomment (0)

June 9, 2005

By Lauren Brooks


Hours of prayer, demographic research and support from seven Baptist groups have launched River Region Baptist Church, the first Korean Baptist congregation in Montgomery.
   
Pastor Shadrach Jung said he has met and talked with many Koreans in the Montgomery area, and besides the presence of the Hyundai plant, a South Korea-based car manufacturer, he said there’s another indication of many nationals living nearby.
   
“There are four Korean restaurants in Montgomery,” Jung said.
   
Harold Hancock, minister of missions for First Baptist Church, Montgomery, is one of many fellow Baptists helping get River Region Baptist up and running. 
   
“We’ve been told there are as many as 3,000 Koreans within a 50- to 75-mile radius of Montgomery,” he said. “Besides Hyundai, there are other Korean companies around here that supply parts for them also within this radius. We think they are within driving distance for worship.”
   
First, Montgomery; First Baptist Church, Prattville; Beulah Baptist Church, Wetumpka; and the Autauga, Elmore and Montgomery Baptist associations, as well as the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions have all joined forces to help launch the church.
   
“This is Baptist at its best,” Hancock said. “We’re cooperating to do missions. We’re real excited here at First Baptist (Montgomery) to have the opportunity to be part of it.”
   
“Several churches and associations are pooling resources to fund the church for a season,” he said. “We’ve got the money to support the pastor and budget for at least a year.”
   
Hancock said, however, he suspects the church won’t need financial help for long. “Koreans are very giving people,” said Hancock, who served as missionary to South Korea for six and a half years. 
   
He predicted that the church would survive on its own within a year or more.
   
Besides funding, First, Montgomery, is also supplying River Region with office and worship space.
   
“We just happened to be blessed with these facilities,” said Hancock of the 500-seat community ministry building that serves as the new church’s sanctuary.
   
Beulah Baptist is providing housing for Jung and his wife, Jai Suk, who moved to the area in late April from Texas.
   
While there are several other denominations that have started Korean churches in the Montgomery area, this will be the first Baptist church.
   
“We know of Korean Baptists in the area who are attending other churches because there’s not a Baptist church for them,” Hancock said. “We’re not forming a church just to take away from other churches. I believe the only reason to plant a church is to lead people to the Lord.”
   
He said this will serve as a language church for first-generation Koreans living in Alabama.
   
“Most of them are fluent in English, but everyone worships best in their mother tongue,” he said. 
   
Hancock said he believes Jung, who has helped plant three other Korean churches in the United States, is a good fit for River Region.
   
“I love him and think he’s an excellent preacher,” he said. “He’s a very humble man. We enjoy his friendship and fellowship.”
   
Jung said he and his wife have started the church-planting process with prayer and will follow up by contacting Korean people and inviting them to church. 
   
He said he is also looking forward to the discipleship-training aspect that comes with having a church.
   
The couple already has 5:30 a.m. prayer services five days a week, but after the first church service on May 29, they committed to a 40-day time of prayer that will continue both day and night.
   
“I hope God makes us a strong church,” Jung said. “I want a good church.
   
“I expect because I pray that God will send more people,” said Jung, noting that including him and his wife the first service consisted of four people.
   
“We had a printed order of service and went by it as if there were 5,000 people there,” Hancock said. “[Jung and his wife] were up all night praying last night. We expect God to do exciting things through them.”
   
River Region meets Sunday mornings at 11 a.m. in the community ministry building of First, Montgomery. For more information, call 334-834-6310.

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