FIRST PERSON: This is Where I Belong

Written By Nathan Kang

FIRST PERSON: This is Where I Belong

Since 2014, I had the privilege and honor to serve on staff at Hillcrest Baptist, an Independent Baptist church in the city of Eastvale. In June of 2021, I became the Interim Lead Pastor and remained in that position for 13 months before our new pastor came in July of 2022. I told the new pastor that I would stay with him for 1 entire year to provide a smooth transition for him and his family to the best of my ability. After the year, my pastor and I began to pray about my future, and immediately a few days after, I came across meeting Dr. Sang Boo, who was the English Lead Pastor at Torrance Good Community Church. After spending a month of prayer, fasting, and seeking counsel from various pastors, it was obvious the Lord was leading me back to my hometown, Torrance.

My first day at GCC was Monday, August 7th, 2023, and I had the opportunity to preach from Matthew 14 that first Sunday. It has been a tremendous joy to minister alongside my fellow GCC family and to learn under Dr. David Woo-Joon Kim and Dr. Sang Boo. I am having so much fun serving Jesus here in Torrance! Joining GCC also meant I was joining the Southern Baptist Convention for the very first time, which was different from my original background. I was born to a Korean Presbyterian family, and my dad was a Pastor in Korea town, Los Angeles. I acknowledged and accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior on February 18, 2008, at an Independent Fundamental Bible Baptist church in Gardena. I was planning to study law and go into politics, but on August 26, 2010, I surrendered to God’s call in my life to go into ministry, and I enrolled at West Coast Baptist College.

I am grateful for my heritage but remained unaware of what the Southern Baptist Convention was until I began my Master of Divinity at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, where I graduated from in December 2021. Ever since the Lord called me into the ministry, one of my greatest burdens was the need to reach the next generation of Korean-Americans in the United States. The Lord blessed my early childhood education through Denker Elementary School in Gardena, where they had a dual language program in Korean and English. In hindsight I know that the Lord used that education to prepare me to one day minister in a Korean-American context. Prior to joining the California Southern Baptist Convention, it was very difficult to find any Korean pastors. In fact, it was difficult to find any Asian pastors within my Independent Baptist circles.

The first person I got into contact with was a church planting pastor from Boyle Heights. He is a Korean-American who is planting a church in a part of Los Angeles that has a large Spanish-speaking population. He is learning Spanish to reach the people around his church. I felt really encouraged by the fact that a Korean-American within the CSBC had a heart and passion for soul-winning, seeing lives transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ. Through this church planter, I got connected with a NAMB Catalyst in the Inland Empire and other SBC leaders who were very supportive of my initial transition to the Southern Baptist Convention. I’ve also had the privilege to attend gatherings with the Long Beach Harbor Southern Baptist Association. Then in October of last year, I attended my very first California Southern Baptist Convention in Clovis, CA. The sessions and services were absolutely encouraging and refreshing. I love the heart and unity amongst the people in the CSBC. At the convention, I connected with many Korean-American pastors and missionaries, and it felt like a confirmation from the Lord that this was where I belonged. Through the convention, I connected with others who also shared the same vision to reach the next generation of Asian-Americans in California and the United States.

Being part of the California Southern Baptist Convention for the past few months has been a blessing, and I am excited about the future of Korean-American churches in our state. There are many who are praying, evangelizing, preaching, and reaching the next generation of Asian Americans. If we are obedient to the Great Commission, I am confident the Lord will bless the congregations associated with the CSBC.

About the Author

Nathan Kang
Pastor, Good Community Church of Torrance

Nathan Kang is a Korean-American serving as an Associate Pastor for the English-Speaking Congregation at Good Community Church of Torrance. He grew up in the city of Torrance. Nathan graduated with his Master of Divinity from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and is currently pursuing a doctorate degree.

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