Children's Church of KUMC of Greater Washington

January 4th, 2011

The Korean-American immigrant church in the United States recently celebrated its centennial. Over 256 Korean-American United Methodist churches have been created, ministering all over North America. Whether the church is small or large, whether the church is new or has a history over 50 years, like the church I am serving, there is one major difference from the first churches of long ago. Now there are second and third generation descendents, whose language and culture are distinct and different from their own parents. However, even though the language and cultural difference between parents and children are evident, they are both in need of the same spiritual nurture and care.

At Korean UMC of Greater Washington, we have over 140 children, from toddlers to 6th grade, and about 32 adult volunteers ministering to the children. The majority of children are considered second generation. However many are called the 1.5 generation (i.e. those children who were born in Korea then immigrated to the US), and a small number are first generation children who recently immigrated from Korea. The main language of the Sunday School is English. However, we do offer Korean language Bible study class for those who are not fluent in English.

Even though our children have very distinct backgrounds, their spiritual needs are as same as any other race or age groups. Children need teachers and volunteers who are willing to serve and love them with a godly compassion and commitment, able to speak their own language and understand their culture, and able to guide them to find their identity in Jesus Christ. I wish that we could have many college students or young adults in the church whose backgrounds are similar to these children, and are thus able to relate to the children and share their stories. Unfortunately the majority of Korean-American churches have been struggling to find these younger volunteers. Our volunteers are mainly the parents who have been living in the States long enough to speak the language fluently. Even though they were not born in the States, because of their love, compassion and commitment toward children, they have been able to serve, teach and guide the children in most effective ways.

At KUMC of Greater Washington, children's church is called “The S.E.E.D. Ministry.” Based on the gospel of Matthew 13:31-32, we desire our children to become mustard seeds that grow to become blessings to others, not just as Korean-Americans but as believers and disciples of Jesus Christ. The structure and program of the S.E.E.D. ministry therefore are based on this vision and purpose:

The Kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches. (Matthew 13:31-32)

Share (Service): To serve family, church, community, and the world through sharing our talents and finances.

Encourage (Fellowship): To build relationship with other children and families.

Equip (Discipleship): To build disciples who commit to follow and obey Jesus Christ.

Delight (Worship): To help children to experience and learn the meaning of true worship.

Programs & Activities


1. Servant Ministry

  • Worship Team: for K-6th Graders serving as Acolytes, Scripture Readers, Offertory Ushers, Greeters, and Worship Assistants during the worship services.

  • Delight Praise Team: for 3rd - 6th Graders helping with praise songs during the service.

  • Jeremiah Intercessory Prayer Team: for children who desire to pray for others.

  • PuppetryTeam: for 3rd -6th Graders performing during the worship service.

  • Drama Team: for 3rd-6th Graders performing skits during the worship service.

  • Newsletter Team: publishing S.E.E.D Ministry Family Newsletter & yearbook.

2. Children's Christian Fund: children give monthly donations to support Jezyle F, a six-year-old child from the Philippines.

3. Kid's Crusade: Once a year evangelistic community outreach event.


  • All Saints Day Family Festival: Carnival and a costume competition at Halloween.

  • Pizza & a Movie Night (Valentines Day): giving a night off for parents.

  • Lenten & Advent Workshop: celebrate two important seasons through learning crafts.

  • New Year's Eve Family Night: serving Korean dinner & playing Korean traditional games with families.


  • R.E.A.L. Ministry: Sunday Bible Classes (R.E.A.L. stands for Relational, Experiential, Applicable, & Learner-based Ministry. There are total 21 classes and 28 teachers and assistants.

  • Timothy Discipleship Class: a disciple-ship class for 5th-6th grade learning on the life of daily devotion and prayer.

  • Reading Club: Reading Children's Christian Literature together

  • Spring and Fall Revival

  • Spring Retreat for 4th-6th Grades

  • Vacation Bible School


S.E.E.D. Ministry provides four worship services on Sundays (10:00 a.m. -11:30 a.m.): Toddler Worship/PreSchool Worship/Kindergarten-2nd Grade Worship/ 3rd-6th Grade Worship (We take care of infants as a part of the child care ministry.)

For Sunday School or other program curriculum, we have been using resources from different publishers. As far as I am aware of, no curriculum has been developed yet that is specially geared for Korean-American children This is one of the areas that KA educators need to evaluate and develop. The second and third generation Korean American young people certainly need teachings and resources that are relating to them and guiding them through their journey.

Outside of the programs for children, we also offer classes for parents. Many Korean parents struggle with language and cultural barriers at home. We do offer educational programs and parenting classes that can help fathers and mothers to deal with such issues in healthy and godly ways.

Despite of the long Korean church history in the United States, a majority of churches do struggle with ministries for younger generations. With unique and challenging cultural and language backgrounds, we are still in the process of trying to develop and find effective ways to serve and guide children.

One thing that is evident in all Korean American churches, however, is that all children, whether they were born in Korea or America, are such gifts and blessings to the families and churches. Moreover, we do hope and pray that they will also become blessings to this country and the world. As ministers to young people, we will hold on to this vision and will continue to love and nurture the seeds that have been entrusted to us.

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