Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

We rejoice in the rich tapestry that makes up the Christian church. During the month of May, we observe Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month by celebrating the histories, cultures, and contributions of people of Asian descent to the church body. Here we have highlighted the life and ministry of some key Asian Christian leaders.

The following resources are a mere sample of many Asian leaders, theologians, and histories. Our hope is to encourage you to learn the many ways Asian Christian leaders are shaping our church today.

Judy Cha


Director | Redeemer Counseling Services

Judy Cha is the director of Redeemer Counseling Services. RCS' chief aim is to make the Gospel central to mental health care by prioritizing what the scripture says about humanity and integrating psychological insights to provide contextualized care that is both effective and meaningful. We took the opportunity to interview her to hear the story of her experience as an Asian-American Christian. Read her responses to our questions below.

Who would you say has had the biggest influence on your life as a Christian?

My family attended Bethel Presbyterian Church in Maryland during my formative years. Dr. David Sangbok Kim was the pastor, and he was one of the few first-generation pastors who was fluent in both Korean and English. Even as a teen, Dr. Kim's ministry had a huge impact on my faith development. I remember that he was a good preacher, but most of all, I learned from him that my faith is more than a religion, a set of beliefs, or practices to live by. Dr. Kim showed us what it is like to have a relationship with God, an authority figure, who is also approachable and gracious. He modeled who Christ is which made an imprint in my heart about the importance of not just knowing about God, but being like Him.

What do you see on the horizon for Redeemer Counseling Services?

In the next 10 years, I envision Redeemer Counseling becoming more and more known as an entity that hosts both a thriving counseling center, with many experiencing lasting healing and change, and a training center that equips churches and professional counselors in utilizing the GIFT (Gospel-Centered Integrative Framework for Therapy) in their pastoral care and clinical practice.

What do you think of as some of the unique blessings that Asian people bring to the church?
  • Balance between individual needs and the needs of others/church. Asian cultures tend to value and prioritize the good of the whole over the individual — sharing resources and creating an environment of inclusivity/family-like community may come more naturally.
  • Value discipline and hard work — may be more open to serving and serve sacrificially.
  • Respect for authority and open to collaboration — may be supportive of people in leadership and value teamwork and collaboration in accomplishing a common goal.
How can we pray for you, your work, and RCS?
  • Please pray for our clients and trainees that they would experience His grace to heal, deepen their relationship with God, and better reflect who God is in their lives.
  • Please pray for our staff that the Lord will continue to deepen their relationships with Him and fill us with His wisdom and strength to do our part in pursuing our vision.
  • Please pray for more supporters of our ministry so that Redeemer Counseling can remain a strong presence representing Gospel-centered counseling care as the demand for counseling continues to grow.
What is your history with the Asian-American church?

My Korean-American church experience in my formative years was one of a safe haven from the stressors of adjusting to a foreign country with the perils of discrimination and racial trauma. The church is where I felt accepted and comforted, where I found support and courage to persevere, and where the fellowship of the believers was a real experience.

What are some of your favorite Christian books by Asian-American authors that we should be reading?

Invitation to Lead: Guidance for Emerging Asian American Leaders by Paul Tokunaga

Contemporary Asian Christian Leaders

Elise Chong is the CEO of Hope for New York (HFNY). Growing up in a first-generation immigrant family, Elise became aware of the needs of the poor and marginalized at a very young age. During college, she had the unique opportunity to spend the summer teaching NYS Regents Math to immigrant youth in Washington Heights. It was that experience that further solidified her understanding of how race, class and economic disparities tangibly affect the social fabric of entire communities, families and individuals. Elise received a BA from Cornell University, a M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary, and was awarded a fellowship and received a MPA from New York University's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

Dr. Aaron Chung is the founding and senior pastor of Exilic Presbyterian Church, a PCA church in NYC. He graduated from Westminster Seminary California (MDiv) and Westminster Theological Seminary (DMin). He has church planting experience in America and was also an overseas missionary in Asia.

Dr. Alexander Jun is a professor of higher education at Azusa Pacific University, and he conducts research on equity and justice in higher education around the world. He also serves as the executive director of Korean American Leadership Initiative (for Korean-American elders in the PCA). He worked alongside Mission to the World (MTW) with his family for three years in Cambodia. In 2017, Alex was elected as the moderator for the 45th General Assembly for the Presbyterian Church in America, the first minority to hold this position. Alexander earned a PhD in Education Administration and Policy from the University of Southern California.

Rev. Joel Kim is the president of Westminster Seminary California. In May 2017, he was appointed as the fourth president of WSC. He previously taught at Calvin Theological Seminary and International Theological Seminary in Los Angeles, and has been active in teaching globally. Rev. Kim is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church in America and has served as a pastor in several churches in Michigan and Southern California since his graduation from WSC in 1997.

Dr. Lloyd Kim is the coordinator of Mission to the World, the mission-sending agency for the entire PCA. He is a former PCA pastor and holds an MDiv from Westminster Seminary in California and a PhD in New Testament studies from Fuller Theological Seminary. In 2004 Dr. Kim and his wife, Eda, a medical doctor, were sent by MTW to Manila in the Philippines. In 2007 he worked as country director of Cambodia and helped facilitate the planting of several churches while also serving as field director for the Southeast Asia Partnership. In addition, Dr. Kim taught and provided teaching resources for several theological institutions as the director of theological education for Asia-Pacific.

Dr. Robert Kim is the Associate Professor of Applied Theology and Church Planting at Covenant Theological Seminary in Saint Louis, Missouri. Robert is a second-generation Korean-American who was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. He earned a BA in Sociology from UC Irvine, MDiv from Gordon-Conwell, ThM from Fuller in Intercultural Studies, and a DMin from Reformed Theological Seminary. Prior to teaching at Covenant, Robert served for 13 years as a church planter, pastor, and regional network director in Philadelphia. He is a teaching elder in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA).

Dr. Kyuboem Lee (BA Biblical & Theological Studies, Wheaton College; MDiv Urban Mission, DMin Urban Mission, Westminster Theological Seminary) was born in Seoul, South Korea, then spent his teenage years as a Missionary Kid in Nairobi, Kenya. He came to the US as an international student, and has lived, church planted, and ministered cross culturally in Philadelphia since 1993. Kyu has taught urban mission at the graduate level since 2006, and he serves as assistant pastor at Renewal Presbyterian Church. Dr. Lee spoke at our Called to Joy event in February 2024.

Maria Lui Wong is the Provost of City Seminary New York, the Director of Walls-Ortiz Gallery and Center, the Co-Director of Ministry in the City HUB, and a member of Redeemer Downtown. At City Seminary, Maria cultivate spaces for faculty, staff, students, and visitors to interact in creative ways. She says that "This process is a way that we 'become' God's peace in the city, living out our faith in unexpected ways as well as pointing others to Christ."