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Seven Questions with Tony Lee

IMB Global Missions Consultant
If you have not had the pleasure of chatting with Tony Lee, you are missing out. Tony is now working stateside after a 24-year career on the field as an IMB missionary. He served 18 years in China, 2 years in Malaysia and once the pandemic stuck, several years in Seoul Korea. Today, Tony holds two official positions through two of our partnering agencies. First, he is an IMB “Global Missions Consultant,” and for Gateway Seminary (where is keeps his office hours), Tony is an “Adjunct Professor at the Kim School of Missions.” More plainly, Tony is developing a pipeline from Gateway Seminary and CSBC to the IMB. However, as he puts it, “I’m more of a plumber than pipeline builder because most churches have a pipeline, but we need a fitting that works with the IMB. Many churches are doing missions, just not with IMB. I’m trying to create a more robust pipeline with the IMB, Gateway, CSBC and help everyone to connect the dots.”

1. What Podcasts do you listen to?

I like to work out, but I took a long break when COVID hit. As of September, I’m back which gives me lots of time to listen to my podcasts. I listen to Truth for Life, The Maxwell Leadership Podcast, EntreLeader, and The Jeff Iorg Leadership Podcast. Dr. Iorg is a great preacher, but his podcast shows a different side of him. He speaks slower and I like it. It’s more of the personal side of Jeff Iorg. I also listen to the Air1 app. On the field we couldn’t listen to Christian radio but now with the Air1 App, we can. The K-Love app is another thing I listen too.

2. In-n-Out or Chick-fil-A?

I definitely like In-n-Out. As missionaries, we have a tradition. The minute we land, the first thing we do is go to In-n-OUT for a Double-Double with fries and then we are ready to be stateside. We do this with all missionaries.

3. Tell us your best, ministry horror story.

The scariest moment that comes to mind happened in China in 2003 when we were in the middle of the SARS outbreak. I showed up to a house church that was meeting in an abandon building, and they were doing communion in a communal cup… It was a dirty glass filled with homemade grape juice and I was the last person to drink from the cup. They were using toilet paper to wipe in between, but really, they were just spreading the germs. Half of the crowd was seniors coughing into the cup…. All I could do was pray for strong alcohol in the juice.

4. What biblical character (other than Jesus) would you want to meet, and why?

Moses – Or Jonah – I loved teaching the Old Testament stories to our children growing up. The stories are fascinating. Reading through Exodus, I love how God used Moses. Moses didn’t seek the position or the work…neither did Jonah. They were reluctant, but God chose them. They both got to help accomplish God’s purpose in unexpected ways.

5. Tell us something that nobody knows, a fun fact about you.

I left Korea in 1982 and emigrated to the US. Growing up, I was ashamed of my culture, The food smelled weird and back then “Korea” was a derogatory word. I would not watch Korean drama for 20 years because I couldn’t stand it. It was so depressing. But during the pandemic, my wife and I found quality time watching Korean drama marathons. The new ones are so good! I’ve had a resurgence. Now, I love K-Pop, K-Drama, and Korean food. I also love BTS (a Korean boy band). Their music is uplifting and fun. It’s nice for me to see the young people who embrace their culture.

6. What is your favorite bible verse or what Bible verse you are currently meditating over?

Isaiah 40:29-31 – (“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary… but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength… they will walk and not be faint”). I’m feeling old these days and I’ve been praying for revival in the US …in California especially. Some of the bigger agencies have a view of California that we don’t really worship God, or our churches are dead. The Jesus Revolution and other revivals in the U.S. started here in California. I’ve been praying for our state, that God will do amazing things. I have a great hope for our state and country.

7. When you think through all the names of Christ, what name resonates with you right now, and why?

Shepherd…Jesus is my Shepherd. I want to be a shepherd. I want to emulate Jesus and be a good shepherd to the people I’m leading. The shepherd is always carrying his sheep on his shoulder or sitting by them, feeding them. I like a lot of Jesus’ names, but Shepherd is my favorite.
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