Blog - Grasping Vocation
Korean Student: "Christian Workers are Like Orphans"Saturday, September 18, 2010
Some welcome news came last week. The Bakke Graduate University (BGU), Seattle, accepted me as a D.Min. student. The full name of the program: Doctor of Ministry in Transformational Leadership for the Global City. I plan to specialize in the theology of work—a BGU strength.
Why this—at my age? Because of my great respect for what BGU is doing around the world, I would like to teach for them. Responses from a recent theology-of-work class in Busan, South Korea, will help illustrate why this opportunity excites me.
Dr. Jewel Hyun taught the course in the Graduate School of Theology, Kosin University. The class included 27 M.Div. students ranging from freshmen to graduating seniors. They came from 27 different churches.
During the August 16-20 class, the students explored the following topics: Why Theology of Work? The Creation Mandate. Sacred-secular dualism. The Biblical concept of work – OT & NT. Biblical Worldview. Stewardship and Servant Leadership. Vocation, Work, and Ministry.
Dr. Hyun asked the class: "What are some of the difficulties you face working as a Christian?” Among the responses:
- You need to be intentional not to be assimilated with the culture and be counter-cultural in order to maintain your integrity and Christian values.
- My pastor has no understanding of the demands of my work and keeps telling us to do more for the church – teaching Sunday School or other volunteer work; I wish my pastor had better understanding of the world outside of the church.
- I think Christian workers are like orphans—no one from the church cares about us.
Dr. Hyun also asked, "How do you think your pastor of your church can help make your work more meaningful?” Some of the students said:
- I wish my pastor would use more work-related illustrations in his sermon; I wish my pastor would give me support and encourage working people.
- Church-wide emphasis on support for working people would be of great help.
- The church should understand working people cannot attend the church events all the time.
When asked if their churches were sending people out to change society, one student wrote:
The church I belong to demands the congregants to attend church meetings rather than encouraging them to work faithfully in their assigned fields….When I become Sr. pastor of a church, I will send out the congregants as Kingdom workers in the world.
A question on how they would apply the training prompted these responses:
- I should get rid of my strong belief of the sacred-secular dualism.
- The Korean church has a strong dualism. They think being clergy is good and being laity is not as good.
- I realized that I need to teach the Bible in a way that my congregants may be able to apply it to their lives at their workplaces.
These samples from the student responses make it clear: the need for equipping church leaders with a biblical theology of work exists not only in the U.S. but around the world. BGU has taught theology of work to faculty and leaders in colleges, seminaries, and agencies in nearly 40 countries.
I can pour my heart into helping BGU serve the church worldwide in that way.