VALLEY FORGE, PA (4/6/16)—The Board of Directors of American Baptist International Ministries (IM) announced on April 5 that it has voted unanimously to call the Rev. Sharon T. Koh, senior associate pastor of Mission and Community Life for Evergreen Baptist Church of Los Angeles, California, to the position of Executive Director. She will lead the historic mission agency following the retirement of the Rev. Dr. Reid S. Trulson at the end of August.
Board President the Rev. Dr. Reginald Mills, who chaired the search committee, says, “Sharon has a passionate heart for God’s mission and is an effective team builder, who understands how to mobilize people for God’s work. God has used the Responding to the Call discernment process to give IM a clear vision. Through her work on the Discernment Team that received and articulated this vision, Sharon is uniquely poised and gifted to provide collaborative and executive leadership for this new century of mission. The Board is delighted, staff is enthusiastic and Sharon is passionately committed. Together, we are responding to the call embedded in the prayer Jesus taught us, to see God’s will done ‘on earth, as in heaven.'”
Interim General Secretary for American Baptist Churches USA Susan E. Gillies, who served on the search committee as an ex officio member, adds, “The entire ABC family rejoices in the appointment of Sharon Koh. She brings unique gifts, experience and energy that will bless, encourage and lead our international ministry. I thank God for her.”
An ordained American Baptist minister, Koh has deep roots in mission, the cause that brought Baptists in America together in 1814 to launch the agency now known as IM. Of her new calling with IM, Koh says, “I am so delighted to be partnering with people who care as passionately about God’s mission as I do. I look forward to working with all of IM, our American Baptist family, and all of God’s children to embrace and usher in God’s Kingdom on earth. This has long been God’s call on my life, and I am eager to share that passion and conviction in this new context.”
Koh was born to missionary parents in Singapore, where they began a long and continuing career with Cru (known outside the U.S. as Campus Crusade for Christ, International). She grew up in Singapore, the Philippines, Korea and the U.S. (California and Ohio). After completing undergraduate majors in Biology and Religious Studies at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California, Koh went on to complete two master’s degrees at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, a Master of Divinity that emphasized Youth, Family and Culture; and a Master of Arts in Theology degree that emphasized Global Mission and Hermeneutics. Koh is currently working on a third degree at Fuller, a Doctor of Ministry degree in Leading Change.
Since 2004, Koh has served on the staff of Evergreen Baptist Church of Los Angeles, a vibrant and diverse congregation located in the city of Rosemead, in the heart of the Los Angeles metropolitan area. She has provided dynamic leadership especially in the area of cross-cultural mission outreach, both locally and globally, and in nurturing the congregation’s growth in discipleship through small groups and teaching ministries. A careful and thoughtful student of the Bible, Koh has a passion to communicate the message of Scripture effectively and to see it take on flesh in the lives of people who are growing as disciples of Jesus. Koh’s assignments at Evergreen have also included shepherding a record-breaking capital campaign that found creative ways to engage the entire congregation and leading international teams to walk alongside and encourage the missionaries Evergreen supports.
The Senior Pastor of Evergreen Baptist Church of Los Angeles the Rev. Dr. Ken Fong writes proudly, “When I first met Sharon nearly twelve years ago, I knew she would be an incredible addition to my staff and our church community. In just a few months, literally everyone in our church came to that same conclusion. I am delighted that the IM search committee, Board of Directors and senior staff all discerned that Sharon is the person the Spirit of God has clearly anointed and uniquely equipped to lead IM into our denomination’s third century of mission. I am confident that our missionaries, international partners and all American Baptists will quickly and joyously recognize that the Lord has raised her up for such a time as this.”
Current IM Executive Director Dr. Reid Trulson comments, “On April 3, 1871, two hundred American Baptist women gathered in Boston to create the Woman’s Baptist Foreign Mission Society. Their courageous action was powerfully used by God to transform the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society, with which it merged after many years of working together. I am thrilled that on that very date, one hundred and forty-five years later, another courageous American Baptist woman announced to the congregation she loves that she would be responding to God’s call to serve as executive director of this same mission society. Sharon Koh brings a love of Jesus, a sensitivity to the Spirit, and a knowledgeable commitment to the mission of God that will enable her to give wise and creative guidance to IM in the years ahead.”
American Baptist International Ministries works cross-culturally to invite people to become disciples of Jesus Christ and to proclaim, through both word and deed, God’s reign of justice, peace and abundant life for all creation.
Words of encouragement may be sent to Koh at IMaroundtheworld610@gmail.com.
American Baptist International Ministries celebrated 200 years of ministry in 2014. American Baptist International Ministries (IM) was organized in 1814 as the first Baptist international mission agency in America. It began its pioneer mission work in Burma, (now called Myanmar) and today serves God through more than 1,800 short- and long-term global servants in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas. Its central mission is to help people come to faith in Jesus, grow in their relationships with God and change their worlds through the power of the Spirit. It works with respected partners in over 70 countries in ministries that meet human need.
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.