Southeastern’s East Asian Leadership Initiative hosts first family conference

Raising children already comes with significant challenges. When child rearing is coupled with the hurdles surrounding bicultural upbringing, there are unique challenges. On Oct. 5, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) hosted its first conference focused on raising a family in an Asian context. The event was hosted by Southeastern’s East Asian Leadership Initiative, and main session speakers focused on how to tackle these challenges.

John Ewart, associate vice president for Global Theological Initiatives and ministry centers, welcomed attendees at the beginning of the conference and told them about how Global Theological Initiatives at SEBTS is training leaders in a number of contexts. 

“We’re very excited about our Global Theological Initiative (GTI),” said Ewart. We train leaders all around the world. We’re engaging leaders now from at least 23 different countries—several of those are Asian countries.” 

Mark Smith, senior consultant of family discipleship and evangelism for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, helped families think through how they can disciple their children amidst busy schedules. Parents should be the primary and model godly living. 

Kristin Kellen, assistant professor of biblical counseling at SEBTS, spoke on the role of counseling in the family. Each person in the family has a unique function to fulfill, yet in a way that unifies the family as a whole. She explained that counseling helps acknowledge something is not functioning as it should and opens the door to healing. 

Yong Cheol Jung, pastor of First Korean Baptist Church of Raleigh, taught on raising rebellious children. In his presentation, he explained that as children grow into teenagers, they experience disequilibrium in their lives. These changes in their lives can create difficulty for parents. However, parents must continue modeling integrity and accountability to their children while practicing discipline and correction. 

Yunhee Sym, licensed marriage and family therapist at Life Plus Family Center in Durham, North Carolina, explained how the intersection of culture and human behavior affect the family unit. Sym taught how the biblical foundations given for families in the Bible and how that fits into the existing structures of Asian-American families. 

The conference included breakout sessions that focused on topics such as a biblical view of marriage, which promotes an attitude of sacrifice before self. 

“I am so excited Asian American church leaders attended the Biblical Family Conference at Southeastern Seminary,” said Minwoo Jang, director of East Asian Leadership Development at SEBTS. “This conference dealt specifically with issues facing Asian American families, giving both biblical foundations and practical solutions for their particular context. I hope this conference serves as a platform to network and support the family ministry of the Asian American community.”

The East Asian Leadership Initiative is an arm of Southeastern’s GTI office. GTI seeks to equip proven, positioned leaders to serve churches, mission boards and seminaries on six continents. The efforts of GTI enhance and develop opportunities for biblical training around the globe through a combination of occasional face-to-face and distance learning delivery. 

To view photos from the conference, click here.

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