WAYNEPARK.COM

Pastor, Writer, Contemplative

Making Peace With Church: Story in Regent World

I am grateful for this writeup in the Regent World magazine. But even more grateful that this story can be told. Here it is, re-printed:

It was last year at this time that I was trying to relax after one of the busiest seasons for a pastor. And I found I simply could not. Something was sticking in my brain like a splinter, and I could not ignore it anymore. Business and management guru Peter Drucker once said, “Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.” And while the church is not a business, the principle still applies: if your organization is going down a different track than what you envisioned, then either get ready for a long ride, or prepare to make a courageous decision—to get onto the right track headed for the vision you have for ministry.

And I knew it had to be a multiethnic vision serving one of the fastest growing, most diverse cities in America.

At the time, I had just started my fourth year as senior pastor of a stable congregation in Houston, Texas. My family was settled. We planted roots. We bought a home. The kids were enrolled in public school. And I just could not see myself at my present setting long-term. A child of Korean immigrants to the States in the 1970s, I was more American than Korean, and yet I was ministering in a Korean context. I felt limited; and I felt my people could aspire to so much more. And so I began a months-long process of exploring the possibility of coming out of a safe, Korean-American church in order to plant a multiethnic church in what was becoming recognized as the fastest growing zip code in the United States (77494), as well as the most diverse (Fort Bend County). I met resistance, and the next few months, slept little and ate even less. But gradually, the people began to see the need for such an expression of faith, and the necessity to reach beyond our ethnic identity in order to share the gospel with our neighbour, whom our Lord explicitly called us to love.

One by one, or I should say, family by family, couple by couple, people began to join us in this vision. And as we approached summer in Houston, the congregation made several motions to not only send us out to plant a church, but to send us out with a blessing, for which I will never be sufficiently grateful. In the end, we came out with thirty adults and twenty children, and seed money to start this new endeavour.

It has now been five months; Woven Covenant Church has seen so many miraculous happenings I don’t have space to tell them all. The church has grown in number and diversity. God has provided and even miraculously healed—ask me about it. I cannot thank enough my sending church and ethnic community for releasing and empowering us to more effectively love our neighbour and spread the gospel. Their generosity “is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God.” (2 Cor. 9:12)

Wayne Park is constantly thinking about issues of faith, place, and race in the vast city of Houston, Texas. A native of NYC, he grew up in the immigrant Korean community, which deeply shaped his worldviews. He studied Fine Arts at Parsons School of Design and thereafter, feeling restless, heeded the call to go west to Montana, Seattle, and Vancouver, where he worked as a mobilizer with YWAM (Youth with a Mission) for university students. This took him around the world to places like Mongolia, China, Central Asia, and West Africa. In 2010, he settled down in Houston, where he now ministers as lead pastor of Woven Church, a multiethnic church amidst the incredibly diverse and rapidly-growing sprawl. He is ordained in the Evangelical Covenant Church. He is married to his lovely bride of thirteen years, Ashley, lucky dad to Austin and Zoe, and proud owner of a Jack Russell Terrier, Fleur. Read more atwaynepark.com.

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