A great article has been posted to Christianity Today about the missionary efforts of the South Korean church. See Missions Incredible - Christianity Today Magazine. The article is a fascinating look at the nature of missionary sending churches from Korea as well as other parts of the world. Most of the essay is about the efforst of Korea, highlighted by the labors of Samuel Kang, a long time church planter in Africa, who currently serves as chief executive director of the Korean World Mission Association and dean of the Graduate School of World Mission at Seoul's influential Chongshin University.
A few quotes from the article I found interesting
Another advantage is the evangelistic zeal typical of the majority-world church, a zeal that has been fundamental to majority-world missionary growth. In 1973, CT reported there were at least 3,411 non-Western, crosscultural missionaries in the world. That number has now exploded to 103,000, according to reliable estimates, though figures are difficult to determine in the majority world. That total nearly equals the number of U.S. and Canadian Protestant mission personnel, which stands at about 112,000. As the Western mission movement matures and slows down, majority-world missions are expanding. South Korea sends more than 1,100 new missionaries annually. That means Korea alone sends out as many new missionaries each year as all of the countries of the West combined. This rocketing rate of growth is historic. When Kang returned to his home in 1991, South Korea had sent more than 1,200 missionaries, up from 80 just 11 years before. Today, almost 13,000 South Koreans are serving as longterm missionaries in countries around the world.
The dreams are wide in scope and very strategic. The Asian church has a deep heart and desire to launch the gospel into Islamic lands; a place very hostile to "western" missionary efforts:
Many Korean missionaries work in China, where they help train house-church leaders. David Lee, who has also served as chair of the World Evangelical Alliance mission commission, sees a big role for Korean missionaries in getting Chinese missionaries involved in Korea's Back to Jerusalem project, which aims to send 100,000 missionaries to the Middle East. "If we can somehow assist them in terms of a more modern way of thinking and coping and understanding context and crosscultural communication," he says, "I think they would have a greater survival rate."
The article ends in a bit of a triumphalist tone:
So what happens if, despite immense hurdles, South Korea manages to reach the world's estimated 6,000 unreached people groups? What if it leads 21st-century missions into Asia, the final frontier of missions, and shepherds the majority world as it takes up its role in fulfilling the Great Commission? What happens if Korea's missions miracle continues?
"We expect Christ to come back," says Kang.
Is this unreasonable, or just posturing. I think not. We need our hope in Christ and his zeal for the nations to worship him. We understand that he taught that the gospel of the Kingdom will be proclaimed to all nations, "then the end with come." Our blessed hope is his return in his time. Our part is to manage and push forth the vineyard as his stewards until he wraps up this age. Do we "cause" it by evangelizing the peoples - no, we do not. Is our evangelization of the peoples of the world necessary now in the age until he comes? Absolutely. For we do, to quote Mr. Kang - "expect Christ to come back