Jason Ko admits it’s a bit early to really know how things are going to unfold. But that doesn’t mean that he and the leadership of Community Presbyterian La Mirada are not excited and anticipatory about the new Korean speaking worship service that began January 31.
“I think that we have really turned around from survival mode to kingdom driven missional outward focused church,” Jason said.
Elder Marilyn Moore couldn’t contain her excitement about the new service. “We have walked this road for so long and it is the culmination of the goal we set for ourselves years ago,” she explained. “But we didn’t want to rush it – it had to be right and the timing wasn’t right. Until now.”
When the congregation first called Jason to be their new senior pastor close to a decade ago they knew they needed to begin to better reflect their community. When Jason first came to CPCLM the congregation was about ninety percent anglo and about ten percent hispanic. It was close to seventy percent elderly. It is now closer to sixty-five percent anglo, twenty-five percent asian, and ten to fifteen percent hispanic, with a wide spectrum of ages spanning generations.
It’s a shift that has been gradual, but is becoming significant. Part of that shift included this desire to begin a Korean language worship service – not a separate church, but an integrated part of the congregation of CPCLM.
“Then along came Reverend Chang Jo Lee to our congregation and there was something different about him,” Jason explained. He is humble, down to earth, and an ordained Presbyterian minister and happens to be the son of a renowned pastor in Korea.
“He was the right person, this is the right situation – we needed the new wineskin,” shared Jason.
Marilyn Moore attended the launch service, though she admits to only knowing about eight words in Korean. “After the service I went up and asked, so, How did he do?” She couldn’t understand the words, but she felt the vibrant energy in the room. “It was an exciting and beautiful day – we felt like we were blessed.”
A key component of adding the Korean language service, for Jason, was to make sure that they remain ‘one church’ that happens to worship in different languages. And it’s meeting a need in the community.
“We have a new family coming almost every month, with many of them being mixed marriages (anglo and Korean),” Jason explained. “They didn’t feel comfortable in an all anglo church, nor in an all Korean church but they come to our church and find a bit of ‘goldilocks’ here.”
Jason admits that it is a bit early to know how everything will actually play out. “We know that it is an unknown that we are entering into, it is risky, it is a bit scary. But it is good and we are excited to see where God will lead us.”