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The church, the state and a prophetic voice: Compass 88

Rev. Joseph Kim shares insights on our political calling in faith and raising up a prophetic witness for justice.

In America, church and state are meant to be distinct and separate. And yet, we have to admit that church often bleeds over into matters of state and vice versa, despite the intention of separation.

So when a church explicitly says “we’re going to talk about church and state”, it raises some attention--for better and worse. Pastor Joseph Kim and his faith community at Bothell United Methodist Church have been on a bit of a personally meddlesome journey, talking about prophesy and politics and a lived out faith.. and good trouble.

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Ryan Dunn (00:01):


My name is Ryan Dunn, and this is the compass podcast dedicated to putting us in types with the divine moments that happen in the every day.

John Kennedy (00:12):

I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute. Where no Catholic prelate would tell the president, should he be Catholic, how to act. And no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote. Where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference. And where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the president who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.

Ryan Dunn (00:47):

That was the voice of former US President John F. Kennedy, speaking to a ministerial association back in 1960. He was alluding to several of the pitfalls in a mixture of church and state in America. These two entities are meant to be distinct and separate. And yet we have to admit that church often bleeds over into matters of state and vice versa. Maybe it's not possible in our human condition to fully separate the two because they're so entwined in our lives, but there is an intention there. So when a church explicitly says, "we're gonna talk about church and state," it raises some attention.

In part, it raises attention out of fear. And in part it raises attention out of an expectation or possibly even a hope that the church will offer a sense of prophetic witness and clarity for difficult situations, hopefully while also respecting the boundary between the religious and the political pastor, Joseph Kim, and his faith community at Bothell United Methodist church have been on a bit of a personally meddlesome journey talking about prophecy and politics and lived out faith and, in good trouble.

Ryan Dunn (02:07):

It started with the sermon series in 2021. Explicitly this series was looking at the separation of church and state. And the journey continued to the present, as of this recording, at least, with the series about everyday prophecy and speaking truth to power and calling for a just vision for people.

Now it's important to note before we jump into this conversation, what we mean when we talk about prophecy. In our context, prophecy isn't simply making predictions for the future. A prophecy in our context is kind of like a diagnosis. So for example, if you drink six cups of coffee, I prophesy that you're gonna feel jittery. In the same way, if we don't address issues like systemic racism, well, prophetic vision suggests we're gonna have strife and conflict in our future.

This conversation with pastor Joe was recorded as part of a live stream for a United Methodist podcast-a-thon. So you'll hear some references to that interspersed, and I just wanted to provide some context there.

So let's get into talking with Reverend Joseph, Kim about prophetic voices, politics, and spirituality, but first pastor Joe Kim, how goes it with your soul?

Joseph Kim (03:27):

Oh my goodness. It's such a joy to be here with you, Ryan. We've, we've connected in various mediums before and it's first time, I think we're having an actual conversation. So <laugh>, I'm excited to be with you and all those who are listening in and tuning in and let's see what happens.

Ryan Dunn (03:42):

Cool. Yeah. Well, let me drill back to that, that question. Like how goes it with your soul? Not just how are you, but

Joseph Kim (03:49):


Ryan Dunn (03:49):

What's deep inside?

Joseph Kim (03:51):

Yeah, yeah. You know right now my soul as spirit is full. We had a great weekend. I, I shared a little bit, you know, one of the things I've been wrestling with and navigating is the many roles that we take on I'm, I'm a father of two, I'm also a partner and spouse and I get to pass through this amazing church as well. And sometimes we compartmentalize those things, right? Yeah. Like, it's like, oh, I'm gonna be pastor right now. And when be parent right now. And my daughter during children's time came up and sat in my lap and it's it's was like that moment of just, you know, filling my heart, filling my spirit, filling my soul. And it really reminded me of the privilege to, to carry all these identities and roles. So I'm on a high right now. Just knowing that life is good. God is good. And it's been all good these past couple days.

Ryan Dunn (04:39):

Yeah. Well, that's good to hear because you're coming out of this sermon series that some people, when I, when I told them like what y'all were preaching about, they're like, "oh, that's bold," like in, in kind of a scary, intimidating kind of way. So if you're coming out feeling like, oh man, I'm so energized, it's life-giving, then I'm guessing it, it went fairly well. Can you, can you first set the table for us by telling us a little bit about what this sermon series was that y'all processed through?

Joseph Kim (05:08):

Absolutely. And if you, if I can, if I may, I'm, I'm gonna go back to last year. So 2021. And we were in election time, October/November-ish and I was getting a lot of some questions from, from our community. And I was even wrestling myself with this idea of how do we enter into this period of elections and can our faith inform the ways in which we vote and we have make decisions and we, our opinions and our leanings. And so we did a three week series on faith and politics. And I gotta say that we, we definitely did have some folks who are like, "Nope, stepping out from the series. I'm not, I'm not tuning in." And we, you know, and so that was part of it, but we had a, a bigger community that said, you know, everything else in my life is informed by my faith, the way that I parent I'd like to think that it comes from a Christ perspective and a Christlike mentality the way that I operate in my work, the way that I budget, right.

Joseph Kim (06:06):

The budget is a moral document and how I spend money or how I choose to spend money is informed by my faith. Why not? My elections, why not the votes that I cast. And so I kind of held onto that for a little while. And we went through Advent and we went through a series of, you know and Lent and Easter and, and, and such. And I think in this context, in today's context, we're, we're seeing that often media portrays particular kind of Christianity, right? Yeah. There's, there's there tends to be one voice that's amplified often the, the religious right, that we, we now know to be known as a religious, right. And as we as people of faith and as, as those of us who lean more progressive, not only in our social issues, but also in our faith and how we understand God at work in the world today where is our voice and how do we process that and how do we do that together? And so just back to back with the Supreme court rulings with with the things that are happening around prayer in schools or, or prayer on the football field, or even reproductive rights and, and religious choice and, and such like that we felt like there had to be a space for those of us who want to speak out in a more progressive Christianity to have that platform. And so that really that's really how we started, you know? Okay.

Joseph Kim (07:23):

And so we call this everyday prophecy. It's, it's, we, we, we claim that we too can speak God's truth that we, we too can usher in God's prefer future as a community here in Bothel and beyond we have folks that tune in and worship with us from across the us. And so how can we be everyday profits in our, in our in our own communities? And I think when you had reached out to me, we had just come off of that first sermon from Amos and really spent some time on the separation of church and state. And that that's kind of where we wanted to start the series as reflecting on the football coach that was in the news recently here in Bremington, which is not too far from Bothel. And so that was really the spark for how we wanted to engage and begin this process of, of talking about what it means to be an everyday profit.

Ryan Dunn (08:12):

Yeah. Well, <laugh>, where did you go with that in talking about this space where, you know, the, these entities of church and state have, have bled together? Like, how then does how do you assume a prophetic voice in

Joseph Kim (08:28):

That? Yeah. Yeah. And so, you know, we, we wanna hold that tension that our faith needs to inform our politics. We can't split those things while also challenging the systems and the institutions of power that hold us. If I may say hostage to how we might live into community and society and belovedness, so in this case, we, we, we turned to Amos and Amaziah, he's the one who started rebuking Amos and saying, "Hey, Hey, you can't like prophesy here, go, go, prophesy, go back home. Because Jerusalem, I mean, this is the King's temple." And he uses that language. He says, this is the King's temple. And, and for him for Maiah that the temple and the religious and the holy was so taken over by the politics of the day that they couldn't see right from wrong, because all they saw was the King's decisions, the King's, uh, stances on everything.

Joseph Kim (09:26):

And they didn't have the freedom to speak out when there was unfaithful or when there was and so for us, right, if we're under this if we're, if we don't separate church and state then we fall into the trap of creating government as idol, I would say. And then to then fall in line with government's perspective of, of who we are to be, and we don't have the freedom to push against that and to claim that there could be a better way. Cause right now, things are not working. I think the way that they should be right. We, we see an increase in homelessness and poverty. We see increase in deaths by suicide, especially in the LGBTQ community we see on and on and on gun violence. Right. And, and so how can we speak out how can we speak truth to power and, and, and claim that we have a voice and an important voice to push against our elected leaders and to say, Hey, we, we wanna honor, and we wanna celebrate. We wanna, we wanna know that we're praying for you. And we pray that you're guided by wisdom. And here's the things that are not working out. Right.

Ryan Dunn (10:31):

Hmm. You know, I've heard of many pastors who've been afraid to, to kind of broach those topics for fear that well, just for the plain fear that not everybody within their congregation is gonna agree with them. You've mentioned that even as you laid out the, the, the church in politics, servant series, that some people are like, "Hey, I'm, I'm out, I'm taking a break." Did people come back?

Joseph Kim (10:58):

Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And, and, and we, we wanna honor where everyone is on their journey. Right. And I know Bothel has been home a refuge to those who have been hurt by the church. Right. And who have who are looking for new way of spirituality. We wanna honor that we, we also have folks who have been members and faithful in our church for 60, 70 years, and we wanna honor that and everyone in between. And so I think, you know, I take seriously my call to shepherd this church and to help us live into our purpose. Our purpose here at is becoming Christ in the community. And we frame that in a way of how can we challenge the systems of today so that we can prepare for a, a better future tomorrow.

Joseph Kim (11:43):

Right. And so transformation, right. We wanna see transform people and our hearts transformed around things like racism and sexism and homophobia and, and ableism. Right. We want to, we want to transform relationships and how we treat one another and we wanna transform systems. And so if we were doing that with integrity, I think we have to speak into some of these issues. Absolutely. There are folks who have stepped away. Absolutely. There are people who have I've received a few emails or, or some folks who will call me and say, you know what, I'm just gonna, I'm gonna take a break. That's okay, come back when you're ready. We, we wanna journey with you. We want you to journey with us, but we also know that there are places. I mean, at the end of the day, we want you to grow in your discipleship and, and live into the belovedness of who you are, if that is with our community, come on board.

Joseph Kim (12:28):

If it's not, we got the connection across that. We want to make sure that, you know, your soul and your spirit is is, is growing in that way. So you know, I think we're in the season now where we can't not speak out and that's been really talking on my heart as a, as a leader of, of this community. And, and hopefully in the leadership of our, our church, our governing board, and a lot of our lay folk who are taking on what it means for us to speak into those social issues

Ryan Dunn (12:55):

On this most recent sermon series. It was about reclaiming this prophetic voice. Yeah. Can you talk to us a little bit about what prophecy is, because sometimes we conflate it with prediction, but I have a feeling you're talking about something different, right?

Joseph Kim (13:07):

Yeah, yeah. So, so yeah, absolutely. We're not thinking about prophetic as in here's, what's gonna happen tomorrow or the year after where here's things coming down the road. We look at prophecy as being curious about the way the world is now. Okay. Being open and having a posture of humility and, and openness to, to experience and to take in what's happening now, to check in that with God's truth and whether this is aligned with God's vision, and then to speak into that, if it's not happening in the way that we, it should be. Right. So I would suggest that it is not God's desire for for homelessness to be this prevalent. And I see, and I look at Seattle where homelessness has grown by a couple percentage points in the last two years. We look at the ways that we like it's, it's not becoming an issue, or it is becoming an issue. It's not something that's going away. And that can't be aligned with God's heart. And so what is it our role then as people of faith, as a church community to speak into the halls of power and to our city councils and to our community leadership in our wherever that might be to then say, Hey this is a problem. This is not okay. How do we move us forward? So speaking prophetically is having that courage then to speak into those places where hopefully change in transformation does happen

Ryan Dunn (14:23):

Well, well, to be a, a Christian prophetic voice, to be a Christian prophet, you have to claim that name of, of Christian. And you already alluded to the fact that it in the media, the larger narrative sometimes makes us uncomfortable with that label,

Joseph Kim (14:38):

Right? Yeah. Yeah.

Ryan Dunn (14:39):

Any advice for dealing with that discomfort

Joseph Kim (14:42):

<Laugh> you know, for, for us, I, I, I think there's, there's strength in numbers. I think having a community that is willing to speak and willing to claim the name of Christianity and to, to name that we are followers of, of, of the Christ, who, who came to feed the hungry and, and free the oppressed and all of those things, right? Like that's being together and the, the community aspect is, is, is really huge. I think something that has to do with how do we compartmentalize our faith, right. I don't wanna be just a Christian on Sundays. But sometimes we, we fall into that trap where I get busy or, or my mind gets full or cluttered with other things. I mean, I mentioned I have two kids at home and, and a spouse, and every day is a challenge for us to figure out who's doing what, and who's doing pickup and who's working when, and who's right.

Joseph Kim (15:33):

There's times when we lose sight of how much our faith can be integrated in all of that. So how, how am I as a Christian father? How am I as a Christian husband and spouse? How am I as a Christian and allowing those things? So I think if we tend to makes our, our compartments of I'm gonna be a Christian on this day, then we lose sight of the fullness of who God calls us to be. And I, I think that's just a for me, a step into that courage of who, which community can I plug into that will guide me and be part of that. And hopefully those are they're out there. I know that they're out there, there's communities across our connection and, and beyond that that do that good work of journeying.

Ryan Dunn (16:13):

Okay. So you've just come through this prophetic voice sermon series. Yeah. Was it four parts?

Joseph Kim (16:19):

Four parts.

Ryan Dunn (16:20):

Okay. So you have got, you've got four prophetic words that you've dropped on the church. Can you take us through what a few of those were?

Joseph Kim (16:28):

Yeah, so we, we started at Amos and we really looked at the separation of church and state, and we again, talked about how the priest was kind of conflated those two and, and lost the ability to, to speak truth to power. We went to Kings a second Kings and we actually had a guest preacher for that day. I, I, I was out. And so Reverend Joel Rodriguez, who's a, a pastor out here in the Pacific Northwest now based in Honduras. He challenged us to see the feeding of a thousand men in second Kings as through a lens of oppression and liberation. Right. And so it's not just that these people were hungry. What systems were there that forced these folks to be hungry? What systems were there that couldn't provide enough food when we operate from a place of abundance, as opposed to scarcity.

Joseph Kim (17:16):

We went to Ezekiel and we saw how Ezekiel it's, it's his call story. And in Ezekiel in chapter two it starts with him being flat on his face and, and the angel of the spirit says stand up, rise mortal, and, and gets him on his feet. And, and so for us, it's how do we posture ourselves if we claimed in no truth all the time then we make our Christianity as us and not about God. And so claiming that, Hey, having the humility to say while I might have my opinions while I might have what I've grown up with, or the experiences I bring at the end of the day, it's really that discernment and, and that wrestling of what is God's truth. How does God speak?

Joseph Kim (17:57):

And then we ended with Jeremiah and we, we really focused on how do we in the midst of all that's happening around us with, with government, with, with leadership are we able to find and, and speak out against the bad leaders, you know, this text Jeremiah goes to the Kings and God speaks the Lord speaks and, and talks about how these shepherds are the ones that sent the people to exile these, these bad shepherds, these shepherds and, and how God calls us into community. So how do we one speak out against these bad shepherds, but more importantly God is offering us a new way, and it's through this new king this new shepherd. And, and it says that the, the name of this new shepherd will be the Lord is our righteousness. And so reclaiming that community, that beloved community for us, so that it's not about me and the individualism, it's not about me putting my hopes and dreams ahead of yours. It's not putting myself selfish desires ahead of yours, but it's, it's, it's bringing us all in. And so that was kind of the scope of where we, where we went throughout these four, four sermons.

Ryan Dunn (19:04):

Yeah. So in each of the stories that you, you drew these sermon meanings out of it sounds like there was a call story involved, and oftentimes, especially speaking biblically, these call stories involve like some pushback and discomfort.

Joseph Kim (19:21):


Ryan Dunn (19:22):

Yes. And and we can stay frozen in place oftentimes because we experience a call, but it's an uncomfortable call <laugh>. Has that been absolutely your experience in entering into ministry?

Joseph Kim (19:38):

Absolutely. I, you know, this is a 1.5 career, second career for me, you know, I didn't come out of you know, my call didn't come to a little bit later in life where I started thinking I would go into policy. And so, so I did, I still worked for the United Methodist church. I was with the general board of church and society both in New York at the United nations and on Capitol Hill in DC applying my passions for social justice and, and I was an English and political science major. And so really finding these creative ways of addressing social issues through this perspective of faith. And it was not till 2012 actually at a general conference where I experienced this, this this, this message on my heart that got placed on my heart, this, this word heal my church, right. Heal my church. And, and I don't know if you know this, but my, my father, my grandfather and my father's sisters are all United Methodist pastors. And on my spouse's side three of our uncles are pastors, not in the United Methodist church, but they're, and so the last thing I wanted to do was be a pastor. I know what that's like. Right.

Ryan Dunn (20:43):

It's funny how often you hear that, where it's like, that's right. Most people are not like, oh, I just wanted to, I wanted to continue on the, the torch. Most people are like, right. I, I have all these, all these predecessors who were pastors that's right. I don't wanna do that.

Joseph Kim (20:57):

<Laugh> that's right. I mean, if my dad was a chef or like, you know, something else, like a little bit more cool,

Ryan Dunn (21:01):

I'd be like,

Joseph Kim (21:01):

Yeah, I wanna take on the family business, but this was not it. And, and so it was in that moment when I, I felt that, that message on my heart of heal my church, you know, I was, I was really wrestling. Does that mean, you know, go be a medical missionary, which, which was not the case, cuz I, I failed chemistry twice in, in college. So that was not gonna happen. But what would it look like to be healing? And in my own discernment it was go to the places where people clash cuz healing happens in the interpersonal, right. Society heals when you and I, who might disagree about something are able to sit down and have a cup of coffee and talk about that that's healing. And so I remember going to my spouse Joanne and saying, Hey, Hey, I, I think I'm called to ministry.

Joseph Kim (21:42):

And I was expecting for her to push back cuz like we didn't want that. I didn't want that. I didn't think she wanted that. And, and she goes it's about time you stop running. And then that really stuck, right. This idea of we, we, we enter, we hear the call, but we, we try to push back on it. There's something I'm not worthy. I'm not a good speaker. I'm not right. We, we see this throughout scripture. And, and so that began my journey and that was, you know, not until 2013. So after eight years with the general board and after having pursued other career interests finding myself serving in Harlem, New York as where I began my ministry and then coming out here to Seattle in 2015.

Ryan Dunn (22:24):


Joseph Kim (22:24):


Ryan Dunn (22:25):

W we're in this time where the call is remained the same, like as people in, in ministry or even as people of faith in general, like our call is to disrupt the cycles of brokenness to offer healing. Yes. Our call is to, to witness to God's goodness and grace in the world. The ways that we practice that though, are, are changing, especially like right now, I feel that we're on this, this precipice where the role of minister is, is really altered and is gonna continue to be altered. And so we're gonna, that's right. We're gonna jump topics just a little bit, but I discovered your, your series through podcasting and this is one of the ways that I think that the ministry is changing that yeah, this kind of digital awakening where Christian leaders are, are living into the digital space. And this episode of course of compass is part of a podcast-a-thon and that's something that you've engaged in, in ministry. How has podcasting affected your role as a, as a leader, as a pastor?

Joseph Kim (23:31):

Yeah, yeah. So, so we started our podcast in 2021. And so may of 2021 we had gone about a year, really focusing on how to make worship experiential through quarantine when we were all isolated, all of us were worshiping online. And so we spent a lot of time focusing on that throughout 2020. And what we found was our engagement, especially for families with young children myself included my, my family included. It was hard to because we're home because there's distractions because there's other screens and toys and because we're all together, it was really hard for some of our families with young children to worship live online with us. Right. And so, you know, we have services at nine and 10 30 we jump online and we go live, but then, you know one of the kids might call or, or we get a call from an aunt or an uncle, or we, you know, we have friend stops by and drops off food or whatever.

Joseph Kim (24:27):

And so there's so many ways that we could be distracted. And especially the families with young children, because it's hard to engage these kids through screens too. And our, our, our director of children's ministries Nicole did an amazing job of, of finding ways to connect with them. But just at that stage in life and at that age. And so we, we did a quick poll of some of our parents and said, Hey, are you accessing worship? <Laugh> are you able to participate? And, and overwhelmingly, they said, no, they said, what would help? And they said because we at our church decided to do everything on Facebook live. It, we, we weren't downloading right. The worship services. And so I had to either be streaming on my phone, or I had to be on a computer and streaming, and I couldn't really walk like a pause, but I couldn't walk away and do other things.

Joseph Kim (25:13):

And so that's when we started converting our sermons to podcasts so that while they're shopping or while they're putting in gas or while they're dropping off their kids at daycare, whatever it might be, then they can be hearing the sermons at least. And then we realized that not only is the access and connection point to worship a challenge, but gathering communities a challenge too, right. Vaccines were just coming out. It wasn't readily available for our kids, and then it wasn't readily available for kids under five. And, and so our young families weren't connecting that way either through small groups or through Bible studies or through children's ministry events. And so for us what are ways that we can help supplement people's discipleship through a podcast medium that would allow for while I'm going on a walk or while I'm walking my dog or while I'm doing whatever.

Joseph Kim (26:02):

And so that's kind of how we started in 2021 you know, our, our, we, we fluctuated in views. I'm a data guy. And so we, we kind of fluctuated in views and we've, we've seen that the ones sermons have been pretty consistent, but the conversations that speak to real life experiences have been the ones that have been most viewed right, or most listened to. We had one highlighting postpartum depression. And how do we understand depression from a per as a people of faith? And so we brought on Reverend Janelle Kurtz. Who's a, a colleague of mine here in Pacific Northwest annual conference that, and she told her story vulnerably. We had somebody talk about going on leave and what does it mean to have Sabbath from a pastor's perspective, but it really impacted all of us where we were working 12, 15 hours always connected to our phones and, and such.

Joseph Kim (26:48):

We had a couple talk about Juneteenth, Reverend the Johnson down in California. He's talked about the, the historical impact of Juneteenth and how, why we should care. We brought on somebody talk about Israel, Palestine, which was in the news at the time. And then Joanne my spouse, she jumped on too, to talk about what it means to, to raise family raise kids from a Korean immigrant perspective and how sometimes that clashes right with our faith because of the way of colonialism and the way that we've adapted and, and assumed identities of white Christianity and then et cetera. So it it's been those ones that have been the ones that people have really connected to and really been able to apply to their own lives, which has been really meaningful.

Ryan Dunn (27:32):

Cool. Here's how I'm bringing this all back together, as we talked about. Yeah. Come on about call and yeah. A call of a ordained elder or, you know, lead pastor in the United method of church is to, is to bring people to the table. You call people to the table. Yeah. And maybe the metamorphosis that we're going through in, in terms of church leadership right now is we're kind of defining, redefining where the table is, so to speak how we make the table accessible.

Joseph Kim (28:00):


Ryan Dunn (28:01):

Podcasting is a way of I guessof offering the table in a proverbial sense to, to people in a more accessible way.

Joseph Kim (28:12):

Absolutely. I, I I hold on, I've held onto this definition of church from seminary biblical communities of worship gathered and sent, right? So biblical communities, people who are, who are connected through the story of, of, of God's faithfulness to God's people throughout time as recorded in scripture of worship. So how we can have access to God even now, right. We can praise, we can lament. We pray we have right. Gathered, especially in today's age is, is, is changing. Right. We, we gathering doesn't look the same anymore. We, we, there, there was a time when we couldn't gather mm-hmm <affirmative> in, in, in directly face to face. And so it challenged for me, everything understood about church. How can I still claim that to be the definition of church when we're not gathering. Right. And so it took this kind of shift in how we understand gathering. Is it online? Is it through this platforms like podcasting? Is it through whatever that really builds up that community.

Ryan Dunn (29:06):

Okay. So you said you're a, a data person, a numbers person. Yeah. in, in talking about gathering. So like in terms of numbers and gathering, like, how are you measuring what you're doing at, at Bothell right now?

Joseph Kim (29:21):

Yeah. Yeah. So I, I do keep records. I don't share them with people. <Laugh>,

Ryan Dunn (29:27):

I'm not gonna ask you for any specific numbers or anything. No, don't worry about that.

Joseph Kim (29:31):

But no, we we we have about a third of our people for prior. So we, we were worshiping a little over 400 on a Sunday morning before COVID before we had to lock down. And since we started gathering in person and online, so in the building and online in September of 2021 we've recovered about a third of those folks. We've been averaging about 1 10, 1 20 high one 50, but not much more than that. And what we what's been really interesting is that our online engagement, those who've been on Facebook live with us has been pretty consistent. Now we have no way of measuring who is joining us on in worship, but the actual views have stayed roughly the same across which, which has been really interesting to see are the same people tuning in that way are different people tuning in that way.

Joseph Kim (30:20):

What does that look like? So that's our, for us kind of the next challenge is can we build authentic community with those who worship with us online and only online? Including we have a, we have very faithful folks who join us from Philadelphia, New Jersey and Virginia, like that's kind of the hub for us on the east coast. And so is there a way to do community authentically and, and with integrity with those folks as well. And, and so those are the, the, for us the next kind of challenge for us to explore what that looks like we may not experience the, the numbers as we used to. But we, we draw from, I draw from an educational consulting firm called our transcend and they, they organize their lens of how they see the world in three ways. You, you have to react first and then you recover and then you reimagine. And so I think we've gone through those phases where we've reacted to the pandemic. We've all shut down, we've all stopped. You know, we had to close our buildings. We've, we've recovered. I would say we're back to about, I mean, it looks different, but we've recovered kind of the numbers and, and that, but we gotta reimagine how we're gathering so that we can then go to the future. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Ryan Dunn (31:32):

Yep. That's the, that's the, the delivery point that I was hoping to get to you, like, oh, are we reimagining we're that's there. Yeah.

Joseph Kim (31:40):

We're still in process which is okay. That's right. It is, it is well, and all of us have to do it right. Yeah, for sure.

Ryan Dunn (31:46):

Yeah. Well, in, in terms of invitation and calling people to the table here's your chance, what's the next sermon series?

Joseph Kim (31:53):

Oh my goodness. So we're, we're taking August to do a kind of one offs. We have some guest preachers coming through, but I do wanna highlight September. And so every September we do, what's called our identity series. Again, drawn back to the numbers. We look at the ways in which people have joined us more in September and January. So for us, every September is our identity series. We wanna name again, who we are, what we what we what our values and what's important for us. And so this September, we're doing a series on called in. There's been a lot of conflict, a lot of ways that people have pushed each other away. There's been a lot more fear and distrust in our communities. What does, what it look like for us to call each other into community and to align ourselves with each other, that we might journey together, different paces, different opinions, different styles, different experiences, but can we rally around the idea that we are beloved community now, and that we hope to enter into together someday so called in, in September.

Joseph Kim (32:52):


Ryan Dunn (32:53):

Cool. Well, Reverend Joseph, Kim, thank you so much for sharing this time with us, for folks who want to, I guess, tie into sermon series past present future that's all at, at Is that correct?

Joseph Kim (33:05):

That's right. Our podcast is Bothell Amplified. Yeah. That's on Spotify, Apple, and anywhere else you find it. And then Bothell UMC is our Facebook page.

Ryan Dunn (33:13):

Cool. thanks once again, and listener or viewer, I guess, in this case, thanks for taking this journey with us as well. Again, you can learn more about pastor Joe Kim's ministry at If you wanna learn more about compass, you can just go to There are 80 some episodes for you to revisit. And if you enjoyed this one, you particularly might like making any moment a holy moment with Douglas McKelvey from August of 2021 or a prayerful reflection for midday disruption. Also back from 2021 back in June. I'm so glad to have this time with you. My name is Ryan Dunn and thanks to United Methodist communications for resourcing this podcast and the podcast.

New Speaker (34:01):

And big thanks today for AJ Thurman for doing all the super amazing technical production and Harry Leake joining alongside, Thanks to Aaron Crisler for monitoring our socials and Brenda Smotherman, Diane Degnan Josh Mullenix, Patty DelliBovi for all the investment in promotion and forethought for the podcast-a-thon. And Tyris Sturgis, Phyllip Brooks, and the Resource UMC team have done the hosting and shared in promotion as well.

Ryan Dunn (34:31):

If you want to experience more with United Methodist podcasts, you can visit And this will be my last plug. Last thing I'm throwing out there. If you're United a United Methodist podcaster, then I want to invite you to our United Methodist podcasters Facebook group, I think it is one of the most encouraging places on the internet. So join our outfit. We'd be happy to accept you in that group there.

So that is a wrap for the compass podcast. It's a rep for the United Methodist podcast-a-thon number one, hope that more of these are coming until next time it's been a pleasure, peace!