MULTICULTURAL ENGLISH MINISTRIES
Second generation Korean Americans have gradually started it’s own congregations (for reasons stated before) called English Ministries (EMs). EMs services are in English and are usually held in the same church as the first generation church. They consist of mainly 1.5 and second generation members and their own pastors. As EMs began, many of the second generation Korean Americans that had left church during college because of their frustration with the internal politics and mentalities of the first generation started returning to church. Because EMs are relatively small and the chances of growth in the Korean American sector are limited, they face financial crisis. The way many EMs are dealing with this is by becoming a multi-racial congregation to grow. A Pastor Chung writes,
"I know five, ten years from now, we’re going to face huge financial crisis, and crisis in the church, if we do not continue to grow. Our chances of growth in the Korean American sector are limited. We’re saturated. So the only area of growth for us is to become multi-cultural. As far as the first generation, they’re dying. Unless we have a healthy inflow of people, this church will be faced with huge financial crisis in ten years(Dhingra 2004)."
In becoming a multi-racial church, many issues regarding how to make a church inviting and comfortable to both Korean Americans and non-Korean Americans arise. Many pastors say they plan to bring in multi-racial members by allowing Korean Americans to practice their culture and promoting a multi-cultural model that celebrates all racial cultures. This is easier said than done in most cases though.
One of the reasons why it’s hard for EMs to become multicultural is because Korean Americans who attend EMs go to keep their Korean identity. Many second generation members say they appreciate having Korean spoken in the church by first generation members even though they never spoke it because it comforted them and made them feel that the were not losing their culture even if they did not practice it. One member of an EM writes,
“It’s a way to see my parents, see them at church every once in a while. Plus my kids can go to Bible study and attend Korean school there . . . If you don’t practice [Korean culture], if you don’t think about it, you can lose it. There are things around me that make me think about it all the time, like going to Korean church”(Dhingra 2004).
The ability for a EM to grow multi-culturally is limited because Korean American members go to keep their cultural identity and many of sermons refer to life circumstances of a second generation Korean American, making other racial groups feel out of place.