Glocal Lent Series: "Partnership & Mission"
Hi! My name is Min-Soo Kang, and I am the Youth & Young Adult Coordinator for a Christian organization called Journey Canada. Journey Canada is “...a community-based, Christ-centered discipleship ministry that exists to help people find hope and live life through experiencing Jesus in their relationships, sexuality and identity.” When people find out about the nature of my work, they often ask, “What got you into doing that?” And I reply with an abbreviated version of this story:
About six years ago, I was the youth pastor of a small church plant in St. James Town. If there’s one thing that I learned while working with youth, it’s that they hunger to see real-life examples of those who are following Jesus. They want to know that the Bible isn’t just full of concepts. That hunger caused a lot of my kids to ask about my testimony: “How did you become a Christian?” This question often made me feel anxious because I wasn’t proud of my story. In fact, I wanted to keep my testimony hidden. But at this particular point in my life, I felt God saying, “You are depriving Me of My Glory!” And so, I began to share…
I first started to share my experience of same-sex attraction with my close friends, and then with the wider communities that I was a part of. To my surprise, the responses that I received were overwhelmingly supportive. Through prayer and the counsel of others, I realized that God wanted to use my story as a way of ministering to others. But what would that look like? This was about the time I resigned from my pastoral position and started to attend TLC.
You’ve probably heard TLC’s mission statement before: “Discovering Identity and Destiny in Christ. Influencing Our City and the World”. I heard this statement preached at what felt like every Sunday sermon. Every time Mike would say “...discov…”, I would roll my eyes: here we go again. But even though I didn’t understand the full extent of TLC’s mission at the time, I would soon see its effects play out in my own life.
During my two years at TLC, the community:
1) Reaffirmed who I was in Christ
When I think about the concept of an identity, I think about the chief ways that we understand ourselves, and how that understanding affects the decisions that we make. For example, when someone sees themself as an Apple user, they will most likely buy Apple products and steer clear of anything Windows. There is a big difference between being a Christian and simply believing in a higher power. One has an identity aspect to it. TLC helped me to see that my identity as a follower of Jesus was the most important and life-giving identity I could subscribe to. I discovered deeper the love of God in Christ, and how that love wasn’t something that I had to earn: it was free and available. I was also reminded that God had the best in mind for me, and that following His leadings would allow me to live in that plan. These truths became anchors for my soul to grab onto to build my life on. As I continued to primarily see myself through this identity, I found my other identities falling to the wayside. Everything else seemed to be too fickle. Who I was in Christ was the identity my soul chose to park in. This in turn affected the decision I made for my life.
2) Called out giftings in me for the sake of the Kingdom
Through TLC, I also began to see that on top of God loving me, he also gifted me with things that were to be used for His Kingdom. Mike did an amazing job of showing me what these specific gifts were, gifts that I never saw in myself. For a long time, I thought my only gift was hospitality. If I really think about it though, I don’t think I have that gift. That was just a default answer I gave when people asked what I thought my spiritual gifts were. TLC helped me to see that one of my primary giftings was teaching, which really surprised me. In acknowledging this truth, I was given opportunities to develop this gift through preaching on Sunday mornings, where I’ve maybe quoted TLC’s mission statement once or twice.
I can confidently say that my church in Toronto empowered me to live into the identity and destiny that Christ died to give me. This short season with TLC helped me to accept the position I now hold with Journey Canada. With Journey, I am designing a curriculum that is aimed at equipping youth pastors, leaders and parents to speak about relationships and sexuality in a way that is gracious and truthful. I am not only speaking about topics related to same-sex attractions, but also about all the broken ways that we use our sexual nature to satisfy our God-given needs for intimacy, love and belonging. At the core, I’m hoping to provide the next generation with what TLC gave me: a deep understanding of my identity and destiny in Christ.
Love and miss you all! Can’t wait to see you again.
By: Min-Soo Kang