The Spirit Moves West: Korean Missionaries in America
With the extraordinary growth of Christianity in the global south has come the rise of “reverse missions,” in which countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America send missionaries to re-evangelize the West. In The Spirit Moves West, Rebecca Kim focuses on South Korea as a case study of how non-Western missionaries evangelize Americans, particularly white Americans. Known as the “Asian Protestant Superpower,” South Korea now sends more missionaries abroad than any country except the United States; there are approximately 22,000 Korean missionaries in over 160 countries. Drawing on four years of in-depth interviews, participant observation, and surveys of South Korea’s largest non-denominational missionary-sending agency, University Bible Fellowship, Rebecca Kim gives us an inside look at reverse missions. Conducting her research both in the US and South Korea, she studies the motivations and methods of Korean evangelicals who have sought to “bring the gospel back” to America since the 1970s. She also explores how a mission movement from the global South could evolve over time in the West. The Spirit Moves West is the first empirically-grounded examination of a much-discussed phenomenon, which concludes by considering what the future of non-Western, especially Korean, missions will bring.
About the Author
Rebecca Y. Kim is the Frank R. Seaver Associate Professor of Sociology and the Director of the Ethnic Studies program at Pepperdine University.
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