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Tailoring Mission for Asian Contexts

Asians have a unique contribution to make to the global church through mission.

Timothy Park, originally from South Korea, was a cross-cultural worker in the Philippines for 15 years—planting churches and cofounding Presbyterian Theological Seminary there—before joining the faculty of Fuller’s School of Intercultural Studies 17 years ago. He centers his research on Asian church and mission history, tailoring missionary theory to fit Asian contexts. “Asians have a unique contribution to make to the global church through mission,” he believes. “We have common historical experiences with many in predominantly Muslim, Buddhist, and Hindu areas, so we are not perceived so much as a threat.”

“I want my students to humbly learn from the long mission history of the Western church, and to gain insight from the successes and the mistakes of Western missionaries,” he says, “but they must identify their own assets and resources for mission.” Similarly, he encourages Asian cross-cultural workers to do research and to publish their findings, so that their unique assets can be better understood for the benefit of all. 

In addition to his Fuller faculty role, Dr. Park currently serves Asia Missions Association as head chairman and East-West Center for Missions Research & Development as president, and Asian Missions Advance as editor. He travels extensively, working with other missiologists to help Asian churches and missions through research, publication, consultation, and education. He facilitates cooperative and partnership ministry among Asian missions and between Asian missions and those in other continents. He recently hosted the 40th Anniversary Convention of Asia Missions Association, which drew 255 mission leaders from 35 countries.