Southwestern’s Chamber Chorale sings new songs in Korea
FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) – Faculty and students from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary harmonized music and missions as they visited five cities in South Korea this summer.
The 13-student Chamber Chorale performed sacred music and proclaimed the Gospel at 29 venues, including churches, schools and a U.S. military post. In their travels, this ensemble was received by audiences with as many as 10,000 people and as few as 50. According to Stephen Johnson, dean of the School of Church Music, members of the ensemble assumed the need for an excellent performance, but they never lost sight of the greater vision.
“Each student understood that the primary purpose for everything that we were doing was all about ministry,” Johnson said. During each concert, student testimonies were tied in with music that proclaimed the glory and Gospel of God. In response to these performances, hundreds of South Koreans professed their faith in Christ. During three concerts in Pohang, a city of approximately 500,000 people and 700 Buddhist temples, nearly 400 high school and college students responded in some way to the Gospel message. Of these, more than 300 made professions of faith.
“God is at work in the world,” Rachel Roy, a Master of Arts in Missiology student, said. “Just to be a small part of it is an honor and a privilege.” With experience in ethnomusicology in the Middle East and a desire to do music evangelism in the future, this was not Roy’s first experience at combining missions with music. However, it renewed her desire to hear people from all nations singing praises to God together.
Tom Song, a native Korean and associate professor of church music at the seminary, also emphasized the evangelistic mission that the Chamber Chorale pursued during their stay in Korea. He said the trip was a blessing both to the Chamber Chorale and to those who heard the Gospel through song. Referring to Paul’s quote in Philippians 4:13, he added, “I believe that anyone who has compassion for lost people and a heart for missions will always be able to accomplish great tasks for God’s kingdom by faith.”
According to Song, the Chamber Chorale organized its first mission trip to Korea last year at the invitation of Billy Kim, director of the Far East Broadcasting Company and pastor emeritus of Suwon Central Baptist Church in Korea. Song served as the music minister at Suwon Central Baptist Church alongside Kim for thirteen years, and he continues to minister with him as opportunities arise. As such, he was excited to encourage cooperation between Southwestern Seminary and the Far East Broadcasting Company for these mission trips. The Far East Broadcasting Company, besides hosting the Chamber Chorale in Korea, is also following up with those who expressed interest in the Gospel during the trip.