Daniel Daesoon Kim serves as director of Chiang Mai Theological Seminary. He is married to Song Kim and the two are missionaries with OMF International and are passionate about church planting, church nurturing, and church multiplying. Daniel is a graduate of UCLA and Talbot School of Theology.
What is your main focus in ministry and why you are passionate about it?
A silent, but strong paradigm shift happened to me several years ago during an intense period of meditating on the incarnation of Jesus on earth. I rediscovered a life-transforming principle, called the 91/9 Life principle, that Jesus spent 30 years of his 33 years in character building, while spending three years of his 33 years in kingdom building. This principle blew me away as I thought about the ministry.
Following Jesus’ model, the primary focus of my ministry is to become like Christ. There is no greater passion for me than to grow more and more like Jesus until my last breath on earth. Now, the Great Commission consists of two parts. The first part is that I have to be a genuine disciple of Jesus first in order to make disciples of all nations. I am striving to become a mature disciple every moment, because only disciples can make disciples.
So I am crazy and passionate about the Jesus of the Great Commission more than the Great Commission of Jesus. I believe that the ministry flows out of the life.
The secondary focus of my ministry is to build God’s kingdom like Jesus, making disciples who can make disciples. I call it “Equipping of Leadership Multiplication,” equipping people of influence who can equip others. Like Jesus’ model, I focus on small groups to win the multitude. I focus on people over programs and projects. I focus on the disciplistic gospel over the conversionistic gospel. Let me introduce new vocabularies: not world evangelization, but world disciplization; not church-planting movements, but church-discipling movements; not unreached people groups, but undiscipled people groups; not conversionistic gospel, but disciplistic gospel.
What does evangelism mean to you?
Evangelism is the divine and harmonious orchestration of four components (all are “m” words) to bring people into the life-long journey of discipleship with Christ:
- Message is about the “what” of evangelism. This is the content.
- Messenger is about the “who” of evangelism. This is the character of the evangelist.
- Messaging is about the “how” of evangelism. This is the context of evangelism.
All three of these “m” terms are harmoniously working along with the fourth “m” term: the Mystery of God. Evangelism is of God’s absolute sovereignty and God’s divine orchestration. The more I actively engage in evangelism, the more I depend completely upon God’s sovereign work.
Share a story of how you shared your faith in Christ and saw God woo an individual/s one step closer to himself.
My wife and I always try to show the gospel to others through our lives before we share the gospel through words. People don’t care what we share with them until they know how much we care about them. The greatest need of humanity is the loving and trust-bonded relationship. So wherever we reside, we open our home for personal relationship. We invite people primarily to our home.
Our way of sharing the gospel is like a mixed salad, the combination of different types of evangelism because people are different. We always seek to discern the context and seasons in evangelism. We ask ourselves, “Is this the season to prepare the hearts of people, to plant the seed of the gospel in the hearts of people, or to harvest the hearts of people?”
We sense that the country in Asia we are serving right now is not in the season of the harvest, but that of preparing grounds and planting the seed of the gospel. So we have been focusing on “abundant sowing.”
For example, under the leadership of my wife, we have been able to enter local government-run public schools each week to share the gospel. A few schools are located in the Buddhist temple. We use special occasions like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Christmas to share the story of Jesus to over a thousand students in their schools. We want to expose as many students as we can to the gospel to soak students with the word of God.
We have also organized Vacation Sunday School (VBS) in the public schools with permission from the schools. We have restrained ourselves from asking students to raise their hands to accept Jesus like the typical evangelistic model of the West. We just desire to prepare their hearts and to plant the seed of the gospel in their hearts. By God’s divine grace, some have expressed their desire to become Christians!
We frequently discover that in most cases, when people want to follow Christ, they have had some previous contacts with Christians. When people want to become Christian through us, we know that some Christians therefore have already invested in these lives to get them closer to Christ. Our job is to offer Christian contacts and the gospel to them as frequently as we can.
Mr. P is a classic case of how we share our faith with people. Our home has always been open to non-Christians and seekers. We open our home every Friday night for evangelism. There is a lot of delicious food, games, songs, prayer for healing, Bible memorization, etc.
Mr. P was born in a Buddhist family. His whole life was deeply influenced with Buddhist values and belief. He got married to a woman and had three children, but he ran away to another woman, and eventually had another daughter. His life was messy and empty. He got addicted to drugs. Then he began to sell drugs. He was caught by law enforcement and put in prison for many years.
While in the prison, his second wife became a Christian and began attending our Friday night fellowship with her daughter. She shared her life story with us. We believed God’s grace was upon this family and began to pray for the situation—that God would rearrange their lives as new creations in his time.
Several months passed and every week we prayed for her family. One day, she told us that her husband was released from prison and decided to come see her. We told her to bring Mr. P to our home on Friday night. We made personal invitations and phone calls to him.
Out of courtesy he came to our home, but would not come into the living room where we were gathering. He sat outside alone, waiting for his wife and daughter. He carefully watched us from outside. A few months later he felt comfortable to join our gathering and entered our living room. We let him see who we were and what we did for a few months, rather than directly sharing the gospel with him.
One Friday night, he shared that he wanted to become a Christian. We explained what this meant and although he did not understand many things about Christianity, he became a new person in Christ. We asked him to join the nine-month baptism class. He agreed and was faithful to attend. On the third month of the class, Mr. P asked us for advice. He was fully convicted of his sins by the word of God and the Spirit that what he has done to his two families was wrong. He asked us, “Should I go back to the first wife or stay with the second wife?” Wow, we couldn’t find any case like Mr. P in the Bible. In time, he, along his second wife, made a personal visitation to his first wife and three children, asking for forgiveness and sharing God’s love to them.
What is your favorite quote/scripture?
“It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” (Isaiah 49:6)
How can people learn more about you and your ministry?
If anyone is interested in following 91/9 Principle of Life, we can be contacted through email >>
ABOUT THE WORLD
What is the biggest issue the Church in your part of the world faces today and why?
From my observation and reflection, the biggest issue the Church in Asia is facing is severe violation of the incarnational principle from both missionaries and local church leaders. Incarnation is the core foundation of mission. Without incarnation, the mission is impossible. Jesus came to dwell among his people. He cried and laughed with people. He ate with people. He learned the local languages and culture. Jesus never came to visit his people for a short period like two weeks, a couple months, or one year, but to live with them.
The Bible does not portrays mission as short-term visits, programs, projects, and seminars/workshops. It is about the whole life.
Because of the violation of incarnational mission, contextualization has been very poor, making Christianity so foreign to local people. Local church leaders and Christians in Asia unfortunately bought into the conversionistic gospel rather than the disciplistic gospel. It is like a couple who want to have many children, taking nine months of pregnancy, but abandoning the children for the next 18 years. We see the symptoms of the conversionistic gospel crippling the Church.
What is the biggest issue the Global Church is facing today and why?
I had the privilege to attend the Lausanne Congress in South Africa in 2010. It was wonderful to see what God is doing globally and to hear from speakers about critical issues the Global Church is facing. The majority of the speakers expressed their deep concern on the lack of discipling in spite of explosive church planting all over the world. The Global Church has been making converts rather than disciples.
Offering a keen observation on current global church, John Stott diagnosed the critical weakness of mere numerical church growth at Christianity Today’s interview >> on October 13, 2006. He sharply discerned current acute church problem with a plain diagnosis, “Growth without depth. None of us wants to dispute the extraordinary growth of the church. But it has been largely numerical and statistical growth. And there has not been sufficient growth in discipleship that is comparable to the growth in numbers."
I just read Futurecast by George Barna (2011) twice. Although the book is about what is happening in America, his suggestions are relevant to the Global Church. I was greatly moved by his conclusion in the Introduction: “…a return to the way Jesus did things – that is, changing one life at a time” (p. ix). Yes, one life to disciple at a time.
The greatest task the Global Church is facing is “family discipleship.” In the country where we are working, over 80% of the families are broken. More children are growing up in a dysfunctional family context than at any point in human history. Now is the kairos moment and the divine opportunity to disciple families by families. The Global Church should return to discipling the family. One family at a time.
What is your hope for the Global Church in the next ten years?
I dream that there will be global movement of intentional discipleship which transforms family and community. Every church should mobilize the house of every believer to become the house of discipleship, transformation, and healing. I long to see every believer equipped as a disciple who can reproduce in making disciples.
I also dream that there will be the intentional and mutual cooperation and coordination between the Western Church and the non-Western Church to make disciples of undiscipled people groups in the world. The mission is from everywhere to everywhere. Globalization brought many undiscipled people groups to the front doors of the churches. Now is the time for global networks to disciple every people group. Diaspora is a God-given opportunity to disciple the world.