When you ask God to do something ten years in the future, you might forget about that request. But God won’t.
That’s what James Kim found to be true when he received an unexpected email from Resonate Global Mission (then Home Missions) asking if he had interest in planting a church.
Kim first considered the idea of becoming a church planter in 2006, when he was studying at Calvin Theological Seminary and began exploring what that path entails. Still, he wanted to gain some experience first.
“I wrote down in my prayer journal ‘Lord, I want to serve a local congregation for ten years before planting a church in the United States, so I asked for His blessing to help me find a church to prepare me for planting a church in ten years.”
Not long after that prayer, Kim received a call to serve at Trinity CRC in Anchorage, Alaska and six years later at New Hope CRC in Spokane, Washington. Then in may 2016— exactly ten years after his prayer—he received that email about planting a church.
“The ministries I was a part of were such a blessing to me and I had forgotten about my prayer,” says Kim. “But God didn’t.”
Kim ultimately said yes to church planting and in the beginning of August, he and his family made the coast to coast move from Washington to Syracuse, New York. Already Kim recognizes that God has equipped him to tackle opportunities for ministry in Syracuse.
“Anchorage was a melting pot of people from all nations,” reflects Kim. “And with a variety of ministry opportunities, I was able to help start a multiethnic community at the church.”
Now Kim will use these skills for another “melting pot” city—Syracuse. With large populations of immigrants and refugees from South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, students in the Syracuse school districts speak 70 different languages, according to one report Kim found when learning about the city.
Kim is excited about the idea of forming new partnerships to minister to this diverse population.
“Just walking around the grocery store on my first day here, I could see this was a multiethnic city,” says Kim. “I’m planning some conversations with local refugee organizations to talk about the possibility of mentoring.
When Kim moved from Alaska to Washington in 2012, his initial ministry plans fell through, but he now sees how that was another step to prepare him for Syracuse.
“I was beginning to wonder why God brought me to Washington but then our pastor got sick for three years,” says Kim. “ I was able to step in and serve as interim senior pastor. I now see that God brought me there to train me as a preacher.”
Now Kim will use his past experiences to develop similar ministries in Syracuse, along with some new endeavors as well. In all of this, he’ll have the partnership of Resonate Global Mission as well as his sending church, East Palmyra CRC. Kim will be officially commissioned at East Palmyra on August 26.
Also taking part in the commissioning service will be Marco Avila, Resonate’s regional mission leader in the Eastern United States. Marco is excited to see this new ministry take form along with other new church plants and ministries that are on the horizon.
“What I really like about James’ ministry is his comprehensive vision,” said Marco. “He has an open mind about ministry and I think that will help him engage with the wide variety of people in his community.”