For the past few weeks we have announced the OIL Conference at Wheaton College. This conference has been a gathering place for Asian-American spirituality for 32 years, indelibly forming the hearts and worldview of thousands of college students and young adults. As second-generation Asian Americans came of age in immigrant churches where the faith was communicated in a foreign language and culture, the OIL Conference cultivated the faith of the next generation by providing a place to receive and pray through God’s Word in a community dedicated to living it out.
Sadly, however, an act of impropriety by a leader at the OIL Conference from twenty years ago has recently come to light. The sin has been confronted and confessed. The situation is being addressed by that leader’s church; in addition, the denominational leadership of that church has been made aware of the situation and will consider if there are any further actions needed. While we are grateful that this situation is in the process of being addressed, we know that some feel the impact of this situation very deeply.
Personally, this situation deeply grieves me. Sin always leaves havoc in its wake, and I grieve to see its ongoing effects for all those who have been affected. This leader has been a significant blessing and role model in my life, and so this news has caused me great pain as well. Furthermore the OIL Conference and its leadership have been a major force in my own spiritual formation. Its culture of prayer, sacrificial obedience to all of God’s Word, deep community, and passion for mission have indelibly shaped my heart and framework for ministry. Before this situation had been brought to light, I had encouraged the leadership of OIL to invite a few members from Wellspring to speak. I had also wanted to encourage Wellspring to attend to share the rich spirituality of this conference with the people that I love so dearly here. As a result I am especially saddened by this situation.
Nevertheless, God often works through cracked pots (2 Cor 4:7). At Wellspring, my prayer has always been that we might build on the deep streams of prayerful spirituality, rich community, and submission to God’s Word that flow from the Asian-American church and continue to be represented at the OIL Conference. These biblical values that God desires for his church remain the heartbeat of this conference even as the frailty of its leaders are exposed.
When Wellspring’s Governing Board became aware of this situation, we thought that it was important to share with those at Wellspring who may be thinking about attending this conference. To be clear, nobody at Wellspring is directly involved in this situation; we are only tangentially connected. After discussing this with our Governing Board at Wellspring, I continue to feel responsible to fulfill my commitment to speak at this conference. Nevertheless I recognize that some may not feel comfortable participating in the conference itself, and I respect the freedom and diversity of viewpoints on this subject (cf. Rom 14:23); we must “pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding” (Rom 14:19). We believe that it is important for each person to make an informed, prayerful decision. If you have any questions about this, feel free to ask any of our Governing Board members.
For all, I ask that you might pray — for the OIL conference, for myself as I preach there, for others who are speaking there, including Dr Kevin Hector and Dr Christine Colón Locascio, for those who have been affected by this sin, for the leadership of this conference as they navigate this situation, and for all those who are attending the conference. Pray that the name of Jesus might be lifted up. Thank you.
Pastor Mitch Kim
Wellspring Alliance Church