G2G’s History, in the words of Dr. Lee
The founding of G2G was motivated partly by my needs as a parent of two US-born children, and partly by my dissatisfaction as a theologian. I became aware of the limitations of Asian immigrant churches in equipping their next generation with relevant Christian education. I saw and realized firsthand that the existing church curriculum was insufficient in addressing my sons’ personal and cultural struggles as Asian Americans. My sons expressed that the content taught in the church was predictable and narrow, and thus they were hungry for challenges and inspiration that would support a holistic growth as Korean, American, and Christian. So, I took the initiative to search for solid, theologically grounded resources for youths such as my sons, but found none. Contextualized curriculum addressing cultural and existential struggles of our Asian American youths did not exist.
While our youths were being pulled between different cultural identities and social forces—between Asian and American, Christian and popular culture—the church seemed to perpetuate the confusion by recycling elementary curriculum that was either published in Korea or written for white American middle-class churches. It remained a challenge for my sons to connect their Christian faith to the Korean and American dimensions of their identities.
Furthermore, while American society evolved rapidly and ethical issues were progressively more complicated, the Asian immigrant churches remained socially isolated, dwelling in their own enclave of familiarity, security, and comfort. Hence, they have been unable to provide a bridge for their children to cross into “the mainstream” America.
As my full-time teaching at a mainline seminary led me to further integration into American society, I realized the irony in Korean (and other Asian) immigrant churches. They pronounce education of children (the next generation) as the quintessential ministry, and yet are complacent with the inadequate educational material. Without relevant resources, fearful of cultural engagement, and unable to tackle the depth of cultural complexity that Asian communities face in America, how can we properly equip our next generation?
My experiences and observations have led me to believe that the so-called “Silent Exodus” was not just incidental, but almost inevitable, and altogether deeply tragic and painful. As a Christian theologian I felt that it was my responsibility to address this challenge. If my generation does not rise up, then the next generation may be lost, and it would be a terrible loss for us all—especially for God’s Kingdom. Even when the resources are sparse, I believe we still have a powerful tool and imperative duty as parents. It is this: the precious experience of God’s deliverance and grace in our life-journey across the Pacific Ocean must be shared with our children in a way that they can understand and find relevant. According to biblical standards, withholding such a testimony is considered deficient parenting—regardless of our contribution towards their prestigious schools, or their material wealth and professional successes. Our duty is to provide connection, provide roots.
My wife and I launched G2G as a nonprofit organization while reaching out to my long-term friends, Dr. Kil Jae Park and Dr. Kevin Park, highly dedicated pastors with sharp theological minds and deep care for Asian American churches.
We came together as a team, and this is how G2G was birthed.
Dr. Hak Joon Lee