I recently had the opportunity to ask some questions of Dr. Dennis Kim, pastor of Global Mission Church of Greater Washington. Dr. Kim is being nominated for the office of president of the Southern Baptist Convention in Baltimore, MD in a couple of weeks by Rev. Dwight McKissic of Cornerstone Baptist Church (Arlington, TX). After being introduced to Dr. Kim via email through a mutual friend, he has graciously agreed to answer my questions regarding his life, ministry, and nomination for SBC president. Dr. Kim’s nomination is the definition of a grass-roots pick, as he was approached by a group of pastors/leaders in the Maryland/Delaware area and asked to consider serving the SBC in this capacity. The more that I read about Dr. Kim and his ministry and vision, the more excited that I am about him and what he could offer the SBC.
Alan Cross: Dr. Kim, can you tell us about your call to ministry? Why have you given your life to the gospel and God’s service?
Dennis Kim: As the first Christian in my family, I accepted Christ as the Lord and Savior of my life in 1962. I became interested in evangelism and world missions as I studied the Bible. When I was in college, I became specifically interested in sharing the gospel with teenagers as a secondary school English teacher. I prayed whether or not I had the calling for ministry after my pastor and professors recommended me to go to seminary. In answer to my prayer, God gave me the conviction of His calling and I decided to commit my life for God’s glory serving as a pastor and a seminary professor. I started my ministry in 1970 serving as a student pastor. Ever since, I have graduated from various seminaries in South Korea and America and I am currently serving as a pastor and a professor.
Alan Cross: If there was anything that you would say is a theme for your life and ministry, what would it be?
Dennis Kim: I have endeavored in the ministry of the gospel in accordance with 2 Timothy 2:15 - “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, handling accurately the word of truth.” I have worked diligently in order to handle the Word correctly because I firmly believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God that is infallible and inerrant. I have strived to live out the gospel according to the lessons that I learned from the Bible studies. I also devoted my life to preach the Word to the world and to other believers. I consider Ezra (Ezra 7:10) and the apostle Paul (1 Cor. 11:1; Phil. 4:9) my role models.
AC: You seem to have a great passion for local church involvement in God’s Mission. Tell us about how you see the role of the local church in the Mission of God.
KIM: Christ, the Head of the church (Eph. 1:22-23), has commissioned all believers to make disciples of all nations with all authority in heaven and earth(Matt. 20:18-20; Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8). Therefore, it is only natural for Christians to carry out the task that the Lord has given us. This commission cannot be fulfilled by the efforts of a single church. The New Testament shows us that the apostle Paul accomplished the mission of the church by partnering with other co-workers and local churches. I actively collaborate with the Southern Baptist Convention because I highly value the fact that SBC churches are cooperating with one another for greater effectiveness in witnessing Christ.
AC: Can you tell us about your greatest disappointment in your ministry? Perhaps something that you would do differently if you had an opportunity?
KIM: I cannot recall an incident in which I was greatly disappointed during 43years of my ministry. I have always endeavored to preach and teach about the importance of testifying the gospel and making disciples of all nations. But there was a time when I was somewhat disappointed at my inability to present a specific method and strategy to fulfill the Great Commission. But because of my disappointment, I began to pray even more fervently. As an answer to my prayer, God gave me the wisdom to develop the Anothen Training for evangelism and discipleship in 2012.
AC: How have you seen yourself grow in your faith over the years? With your family and with your church?
KIM: Through Bible study, I realized the truth of the gospel that we are saved only through faith in Christ (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). I believe that the Bible is infallible and inerrant Word of God (Ps. 119:96; 2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 1:20-21). The Bible is the book that equips the people of God for all kinds of good works (2 Tim. 3:17). Over the years, I have seen my family and church grow in Christ-likeness as we strived to grow in our unity and knowledge of the Son of God by following the biblical guidelines (Eph. 4:11-16). We will continue to grow in our knowledge of Christ (2 Pet. 3:16) by staying committed to worship, prayer, Bible study, fellowship, service, evangelism, and world missions.
AC: Why are you a Southern Baptist? What draws you to Southern Baptist life and keeps you active and participating?
KIM: I am a Southern Baptist because God, in His providence, has led me to the Southern Baptist Convention. I give my wholehearted consent to the theology and ethics of the Southern Baptist Faith and Message. I believe in the biblical principle of baptism and cooperation for world missions. I know and truly appreciate the collaboration among International Mission Board, North American Mission Board, LifeWay Christian Resources, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, GuideStone Financial Resources and the convention’s six seminaries for the fulfillment of the Great Commission. I am grateful for this spirit and heritage of cooperation. I was privileged to make use of all these resources as the senior pastor of the Global Mission Church of Greater Washington for the past 23 years.
AC: What are your prayers and hopes for the SBC in the future? What do you hope to see God do in us and through us?
KIM: I want the SBC to continue to focus on world evangelization through evangelism and discipleship. When I served in the Task Force for Evangelism Impact and Declining Baptism, I received the statistical data that about 1,000 Southern Baptist churches are closing every year. I have been praying for a revival for this nation with a broken heart. I also fully commit myself to collaborate with the SBC in its initiative to develop a strategy for effective evangelism and discipleship in order to plant 1,500 churches every year. I believe in the biblical promise that the Lord Jesus will return when the gospel has been preached to every people group of all nations (Matt. 24:14). I will thus pray, train, and promote active cooperation among all believers for the coming of the Lord.
AC: If there was one thing that you could change about the SBC, what would it be?
KIM: God willing, I may provide an evangelistic tool that is simple enough to train all church members, effective enough to ignite believers’ passion for evangelism, and engaging enough to captivate the hearts of the present generation. As an answer to my prayer, the Lord gave me the wisdom to develop an effective tool of evangelism and discipleship called Anothen Training. If the members of the SBC generously accept my initiatives, I would like to introduce Anothen Training and equip Southern Baptist churches so that we may share the gospel effectively, increase the number of our baptisms, revitalize our passion for evangelism, and plant more gospel-driven churches.
AC: Finally, why are you willing to serve Southern Baptists in the office of President if you are elected in Baltimore? What do you hope to bring to our Convention through your leadership?
KIM: I was surprised that several leaders of the SBC recommended me as a candidate for the office of president. I was not expecting this nomination, for I have always considered myself as an ordinary servant of the Lord. I have collaborated with the ministry of SBC with joy and willingness because I believe all servants need to learn, emulate, and follow the leadership of the Lord. I will continue to remain faithful in my companionship with all other fellow laborers of God’s kingdom. If God gives me the opportunity to serve as the president of the SBC, I hope to contribute to the convention by introducing and implementing an effective strategy for evangelism and reproductive discipleship that the Lord has commanded us to do (2 Tim. 2:2).