Bi-vocational church planter loves accountability and connections of PC(USA)
by Paul Seebeck | Presbyterian News Service
LOUISVILLE — The Rev. Shawn Kang has been named the central region associate for 1001 New Worshiping Communities (NWC) in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). In his new role, Kang will work with presbyteries, churches and new worshiping leaders in the central United States to further grow the movement.
Based in Houston, Kang most recently served as pastor of Pathways, a new church he planted 13 years ago in the Presbytery of New Covenant. And he’s recently received approval to start another new worshiping community.
“One of things we’re excited about with Shawn is that he is bi-vocational,” says national New Worshiping Communities coordinator Vera White. “He’ll be modeling what many leaders are doing in working more than one job. It shows that he understands what they’re going through as church planters.”
Kang, who has “a heart for church planting,” says the thing he loves most about the PC(USA) “is the relationship and accountability we have through our connections.” Having worked well with New Covenant Presbytery, as both a church planter and NWC coach, he hopes to encourage and strengthen these connections by creating a symbiotic relationship between presbyteries and 1001 New Worshiping Communities.
“People know him, he’s recognizable,” says White. “He will be able to help create flexibility within our institutional structures because he understands what both presbyteries and church planters need in creating these new worshiping communities.”
As the child of Korean American immigrants born in the U.S., Kang has a unique perspective on how he sees culture, life and faith. Not fully perceived as “American” or “Korean,” he feels privileged in some circles and ignored in others. Because of this experience, he says he will endeavor to listen and advocate for voices of the immigrant, the minority and the fringe, where people are not heard.
“I will always try my hardest to make space for ears and hearts to be open,” says Kang, “where we can challenge conventional thinking and make connections to what has been established what is new and emerging for the sake of encouraging and building each other up.”
“Shawn will be a good bridge person between new worshiping communities and traditional churches,” adds White. “And between new immigrant communities and the more traditional Presbyterian Anglo body.”
Kang will officially begin his 1001 New Worshiping Community work on Nov. 6. The Central Region consists of 43 presbyterians in 15 states: Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, New Mexico, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
The 1001 movement was approved by the 220th General Assembly (2012) to create 1,001 new worshiping communities by 2022. Currently there are more than 400 active new worshiping communities across the country.
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