John Park: Following Jesus at the Intersection of Doctoral Studies and “Ta Ethne” (people groups)

“Drawing the World Together” Advent Blog Series


“The world is at our doorstep” is now a cliché, because the world has been with us for ages. Globalization is a major player. Immigrants, refugees, businesses, and global interactions at various levels take place in this ‘flat’ world more frequently these days. Just as we anticipate the season of the Advent, the people in the first century might have had some idea of when and where the Messiah would be born but they were clueless as to where he was going to be born particularly. His birth drew not only the lowly shepherds from Israel but also dignitaries from the East. Although King Solomon’s drawing of gentile kings and luminaries did not last, Jesus’ drawing of nations continues even now.


Ta ethne’ is everywhere as people groups migrate frequently for various reasons, which makes ‘those-hard-to-reach’ reachable with the gospel of Jesus, and the opportunity to equip them has increased, especially for Central, an institution well-known for inclusion and hospitality. A recent D.Min. event entitled An Evening of Global Learning demonstrated ‘ta ethne’ in the diverse make-up of its students.


Moreover, I have not only seen an increase in the number of international students and Americans with various ethnic backgrounds, but also noticed a rise in the number of inquiries by those from Myanmar and African countries about studying in the D.Min. Program at Central Seminary. If or when this trend continues, how might we at Central offer a program that is inclusive of and hospitable to these international students, while being supportive of and instrumental to the growth of their knowledge, ministry skill sets, leadership, and spirituality? If the mode of Jesus’ drawing the world was incarnational, taboo-breaking, boundary-crossing, and countercultural, can we follow his example as we welcome and embrace those coming to us and as we go to ‘ta ethne’? I pray for a resounding “Amen” for Central and for our Doctor of Ministry Program.


Originally from South Korea, Dr. John Park is Director of Doctor of Ministry Program at Central Baptist Theological Seminary. He has a Ph.D. in leadership and teaches Leading People and Organizations, Embracing Design Thinking, Leadership: Theology and Practice, and How to Lead and Teach: Leadership for Myanmar Churches in three different tracks of the DMin Program. He enjoys working with people of various linguistic, ethnic, and racial backgrounds. He is also passionate about leadership development, fun(d) development, change, missions, and language acquisition. If you are interested in doing DMin. studies, you can reach him at or at 913-667-9731. 

Dear Friends of Central, as we observe this joyous season of Advent and then Christmastide, we give thanks that Jesus draws the whole world together. God has called Central to be a place where north and south, east and west, come together as the one Body of Christ to learn how the Gospel takes root in different cultures.

I ask you to give generously as the year-end draws near. Each day I give thanks for your participation in the world-wide mission of Central. — Molly T. Marshall

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