Welch connects with Korean evangelicals

EDITOR'S NOTE: Bobby Welch recently traveled to South Korea as the SBC’s strategist for Global Evangelical Relations. The following article is part of a series sharing a glimpse of his visit with Southern Baptist military chaplains and dialogue with Korean evangelical leaders.

SEOUL, South Korea (BP)--"Everything is in place to fulfill the Great Commission in our lifetime," Bobby Welch declared.

"But it cannot happen without a Great Connection," he told Korean evangelical leaders and personnel with the Southern Baptist International Mission Board during a visit to South Korea. Welch also met with Southern Baptist military chaplains and other U.S. military leaders to offer encouragement and support.

This Great Connection, he said, involves building relationships around the world with evangelical Christian leaders for the sake of the Gospel.

While Welch may be best known for developing the F.A.I.T.H. evangelistic materials and as a former SBC president and pastor of First Baptist Church in Daytona Beach, Fla., he visited South Korea in his role as Strategist for Global Evangelical Relations with the Southern Baptist Convention's Executive Committee.

In the first four days of his Sept. 3-10 visit, Welch met with IMB personnel and Korean Baptist leaders in three cities -- Seoul, Taejon and Bundang. He also preached at First Glory Presbyterian Church. According to First Glory's senior pastor, Jun Wha Kim, Welch was the first Baptist ever to preach at the church in northwest Seoul.

Billy Kim, president of the Far East Broadcasting Company and former president of the Baptist World Alliance, also organized a prayer breakfast during Welch's visit. Invited guests included representatives from the IMB, the Korea Baptist Convention, Korean Baptist churches and the BWA. In this meeting, the discussion turned to the SBC's 2004 decision to withdraw from the BWA.

While BWA representatives voiced their desire for the SBC to return to the BWA, Welch outlined SBC plans to seek to build broader global relationships.

Welch noted that Southern Baptists are not seeking to form another institution nor will they make global friends choose between the SBC and the BWA. Instead, Welch emphasized that Southern Baptists love and appreciate evangelical leaders and Great Commission Christians worldwide who are committed to connecting for the sake of the Gospel.

Overall, Korean leaders responded positively to Welch's visit. Daniel Lee, pastor of Global Mission Church, a large Baptist congregation located about an hour south of Seoul in the city of Bundang, was encouraging.

"I appreciate the vision, and I think it is great progress to go beyond Baptists as we discuss fulfilling the Great Commission at a global level," Lee said.

Choon Sik Choe, president of the Korean Home Mission Board, also expressed optimism about connecting in a broader way. Both Lee and Choe agreed to explore future opportunities to connect with the SBC for the Gospel.

Welch said, "The Great Commission will not be accomplished by one denomination or one mission group. That is impractical, and it is not the plan of God. We are laborers together. To that end, I am giving the best of the rest of my life."


Ann Lovell is a media worker based in Seoul, South Korea, with the Southern Baptist International Mission Board.

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