Fourth UBF General Director Inaugural Address by Pastor Abraham Kim (Video)

August 6, 2011

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” (2Co 8:9)

Dear friends and fellow-workers in Christ.

Here I stand to submit myself to the calling to assume the duties of the fourth General Director of UBF. I am deeply grateful to God for His grace and to all UBF coworkers for your trust. I’d like to thank Dr. John Jun for his hard work as General Director for the past five and a half years. He wholeheartedly cared for the frontline missionaries and built up relationships with Christian communities in the United States and Europe. May God be with him and M. Sunji Jun and bless the services they want to continue.

As an organization, we have just celebrated the 50th anniversary. We were reminded of the spiritual heritage God bestowed on us through His servants, the Late Dr. Samuel Lee, and Mother Sarah Barry. From the beginning, God led UBF to serve world campus mission through disciple-making. We have devoted our youth, dreams, and desires to obey this commission. Eighteen hundred missionaries have gone to 92 countries, leaving comfortable lives in their homelands. Many of them have endured poverty, cultural and language barriers, persecution and hardships for pioneering self-supporting ministries. God has blessed us by raising thousands of native disciples and 2nd generation missionaries in 400 UBF chapters around the world. Praise be to God who called us to be a royal priesthood and a holy nation and who has done great work among us for the past 50 years!      

Before us there are 140 countries that are waiting for UBF missionaries. Even in the U.S.A and Germany, we have reached only 20% of major universities. This is the time we should newly and humbly receive the Lord’s Great Commission—“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations”(Mt 28:19-20).We must move on with the gospel of Jesus Christ. There are economic and political barriers. There are challenges of post-modern cultures. But I am convinced that our Almighty God who has led us for the past 50 years will enable us to carry out this great task if we wholeheartedly obey Him. While praying for this, the Spirit led me to the words of 2 Corinthians 8:9, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.”

For the greatest task of world salvation, our Lord took the way of servantship. He gave up the honor and glory as God. He became a man in order to be our friend. He was born in a stable and lived in poverty. He was despised and rejected. He served sinners until he gave his life on the cross. He could have chosen other ways, but he chose this way because it was God’s way. Through his poverty, he made us rich. He set us free from slavery to sin and death and restored God’s image in us. He gave us meaning and purpose in life; He gave us eternal life and the inheritance of the kingdom of God. He has filled us with love, peace, joy and hope, making us bear the fruit of righteousness through the Holy Spirit. To the Lord and God, the King of kings and Lord of lords, be praise and honor and glory forever! Amen.

The Lord has entrusted His remaining work for world salvation to His church. We know the beautiful epilogue of John’s gospel. After predicting Apostle Peter’s martyrdom, the Risen Christ said to him, “Follow me” (Jn 20:19). It was the Lord’s calling for His church to serve the people of the world in His footsteps. If there are other easier ways for the church to fulfill God’s world salvation purpose, the Lord would have not given this command. Peter and all the other apostles followed the Lord’s footsteps. Numerous saints followed the Lord’s footsteps. When Christians followed the Lord’s footsteps, the church became the light of the world. When Christians followed other ways, the church lost life and influence. God blessed and used UBF because we have followed the Lord’s footsteps. We are living in a world in which servantship is not honored. When we served young people giving our lives, however, the Lord filled us with His richness—not the richness of the world that is temporal, but the richness of heaven that is eternal. And God enabled us to bear fruit that lasts forever.

Now many of us have stable lives and ministries, while many missionaries are struggling to keep God’s lamp burning in their mission fields. This is the time we should look after one another and carry out the Lord’s Great Commission together. This is the time we should remember the grace of our Lord and newly accept his calling, “Follow me.” If we continue to follow the Lord in His footsteps, God will continue to use us for fulfilling His vision for world campuses, and God will bless us and our children. I ask the Lord for his mercy and help so that I may follow His footsteps daily.I’d like to ask all of my fellow workers in UBF to join me in prayer for the following spiritual direction:

First, we should restore the spirit and vision we had. We studied God’s word, prayed for God’s heart’s desire, and simply obeyed and went out to preach the good news by faith. Then God enabled us to overcome obstacles and worked with us. We served world mission with a giving spirit. Korea UBF chapters sent out their leaders as missionaries, like Apostle Paul and Barnabas. When they did so, God blessed them to grow in number. For the past 35 years, Korea UBF has sent out one third of its members as missionaries, which is over three times more than the Moravians, who are known to be the most missionary-minded community in history. We change our ways in order to win the people we serve, but we must not change in serving God’s work in God’s way—through faith, obedience, and giving. Let’s pray that we may serve world mission with a giving spirit and by faith and obedience. I pray that U.S.A UBF chapters may send out one third of their members as missionaries. God is not limited. He will show great things when we serve Him with spirit of giving and vision by faith.

Second, we should live the gospel.  Our Lord’s first message was “The time has come. The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mk 1:15) The purpose of the gospel is to transform a sinful person into a spiritual person who loves God and loves neighbors. Our discipleship should be focused on this. How can our sinful nature be transformed? It is only through sincere repentance before the word of God. We should daily repent of our self-centeredness that stands against God so that we are filled with God’s holiness and love. We should help our Bible students to do the same. We can recruit people by programs, but we cannot raise disciples who practice God’s love without a work of the Holy Spirit in them through repentance. Without this transforming work, we cannot build a Christian community which God can dwell in and use for his purpose.

Apostle Paul best characterized Christianity when he said, “If I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing” (1Co 13:2). Our ministry should be based on God’s love for one soul. Our community should be built on love for one another. We confess that we didn’t live the gospel as we should. I ask forgiveness from God and from those who were hurt in our ministry due to our lack of love. Seventy percent of 400 UBF chapters are run by one or two families. They need love, encouragement, and support. Let’s pray to build a community of love in each city, nation, and continent. Then the Lord will make us a city on a hill that shines God’s light to the world.

The Late Dr. Samuel Lee’s last words for us were to “go back to the Bible.” The Bible is about Christ and his gospel. I believe that God, through Dr. Lee, pointed out the right direction of UBF—to restore the spirit of giving and vision by faith and to live the gospel through sincere repentance before the word of God.

Third, we should build up native leadership. Raising native leaders is the ultimate goal of our ministry. Native leaders include the 2nd-gens of missionaries and native leaders. God has blessed the sacrifice of our missionaries and raised thousands of potential native leaders. Each chapter should promote an environment in which missionaries work together with native leaders. Each chapter should also have a plan concerning how to build up native leadership including a long-range plan of leadership transfer from missionaries to native leaders. I will work with continental coordinators to develop education programs for raising native leaders.

I’d like to thank Christian organizations and friends who have shown affection in Christ and support for our organization. I especially thank Dr. John Armstrong and Dr. Scott Moreau at Wheaton College. I also thank Rev. Samuel Ilsik Choe, president of Global Inter-Missions Network. We will continue partnership with Christian communities including the other campus mission organizations for the common purpose of expanding God’s kingdom on earth.  

By God’s grace, we were called to live the life of Jesus’ disciples. We know we have lived the most glorious and wisest life by His grace. Let’s follow the Lord Jesus to the end. May God fill us with the Spirit of Jesus as we follow his footsteps for fulfilling His commission for world campus evangelization. I’d like to ask all UBF coworkers to hold on to the following prayer topics:

1. Sanctification of our inner persons by the word of God

2. Raise disciples through one-to-one Bible studies  

3. Raise 100,000 missionaries by 2041 and send them out to 140 countries unreached by UBF and to all major campuses of the world