On Monday 9th September 2019, over 500 people, including members of the Korean parliament, gathered on the campus of Korean Nazarene University at Cheonan, South Korea, to participate in the Inauguration Service for Dr. David Kyungsoo Kim, the 8th President of KNU, the largest Nazarene university in the world. Among those attending were former Commissioner of the Church of the Nazarene’s International Board of Education, Dr. E. LeBron Fairbanks, who was the speaker; Korea National District Superintendent Dr. Shin Min-gyoo; KNU Board Chairman Rev. Yoon Moon-gi; and Lee Myung-soo of the Liberty Korea Party.
Elected President on 29 July, Dr. Kim, who has been a Professor at Korea Nazarene University since 2014, succeeds Dr. Im Seung-an, who served since February 2016. Dr. Kim earned an MA in History from Yale Graduate School of Theology, and a Ph.D. in Education from Saint Louis University in Missouri, USA., and has previously pastored the St. Louis Grace Church and Korean Nazarene Holiness Church for a total of 13 years.
In his inaugural address, Dr. Kim reminded those assembled of the Nazarene values of regeneration, sanctification, mission, education, and compassionate ministry, and that the Church of the Nazarene has historically been committed to higher education. Dr. Kim indicated: “Higher education in the Church of the Nazarene serves as the foundation for nurturing the youth of the Church to grow spiritually, to keep the Church healthy, and to exert influence in the world with servants who love Jesus Christ. For this purpose, Korea Nazarene University was started in 1954 in Korea to educate young people and give glory to God.” Dr. Kim also acknowledged the challenges facing KNU, restating the need for “innovative change to open a new era.” Finally, Dr. Kim celebrated the place of education in the Church of the Nazarene. “Everyone in the Nazarene University community should focus on education that seeks the truth, and educates youth to influence society.”
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Dr. E. Lebron Fairbanks also shared with those in attendance, posing three questions to his audience. First of all, how can our working relationships in a university be redemptive and a witness to unbelievers? Secondly, how does our new life in Christ change our leadership approach at a Christian university? Finally, how can a Christian leader lead with the “mind of Christ” in conflict situations? In answering these questions, Dr. Fairbanks emphasized gentleness. As he shared, “Caring for others is the mark of greatness, more so than decisiveness.”
During the ceremony honorary doctorates were awarded to Dr. Joel Pearsall, President of Northwest Nazarene University in Nampa, Idaho, USA; and to Pastor Im Yong-hwa, Pastor of Cheonan Sung Moon Church.