Gracepoint Church

From WikiShepherd
Jump to: navigation, search

Note: I have only been a member of Gracepoint, and it's predecessor - Berkland Baptist Church, for a limited number of years. My knowledge of this church and it's activities may have many knowledge gaps from the time before and after and will require other past members to fill in the blanks of this wiki to make it more complete.

The oversimplified history is: UBF --> Becky --> BBC --> Ed --> GP

A far more thorough history can be found here: http://gracepoint-berkeley.blogspot.com/2019/02/history-of-gracepoint-ministries.html?m=0


Formation of Berkland Baptist Church

Berkland Baptist Church (BBC) 1980s to approximately 2006

Rebekah (Becky) Kim and her Husband Paul Kim, former members of UBF, founded Berkland Baptist Church sometime in the early 1980s with the aim of ministering to the University of Berkeley (UCB) campus. The original church building was located geographically near the border of Oakland, CA and Berkeley, CA and thus the name Berkland Baptist was derived from there.

Paul took a sort of "back seat" to ministry, despite being the head Pastor, while letting Becky run most of the ministry operations as she saw fit. There's no way to know the true reasoning behind all this without asking them, but from observation it appears partly due to Korean Culture and partly due to personality quirks and the ambitious goals of one of the spouses. Most members who were present at the time did affectionately refer to Becky Kim as their spiritual mother. And to BBC as their spiritual family or spiritual home.

There maybe room for theological debate if the usage of 'spiritual' family or home or mother and father is biblical. Regardless this is ingrained into the culture of BBC from those times.

As told by the original founders and early members - the church initially had humble beginnings, with only Becky and Paul, their daughter and few others being present at the first service.

Over time the number of members grew. The nomenclature of BBC and it's affiliated organizations becomes confusing and difficult to follow over time, even for long time members, as they have started multiple churches and ministries with various names and acronyms.

Some of these include ABSK - Asian Baptist Student Koinonia and (before or later?) Koinonia. That's not a typo, at one point the official student organization was just called Koinonia. If the goal was to shock and awe or just confuse, I think it worked.

As best I could tell, ABSK was the official on campus organization at UCB and other college campuses. BBC was a church that most of its members 'just happened' to go to. During the 80's - 90's, there was a rapid expansion of BBC / ABSK to various campuses outside of UCB, including UC Davis, Silicon valley (Stanford, SJSU, etc.), Los Angeles (UCLA, USC, etc.), Seattle, New York, Boston. (This is not a comprehensive list.). BBC also expanded to start missions / church plants globally, including in Korea, Tashkent -Uzbekistan and Japan. (Again, not a comprehensive list).

BBC had a focus on developing home grown talent, recruiting many college students to either become staff or pastors, get married to other members within the church and moving to other college campuses to plant new branches of the church. It was and is likely still not uncommon for core members to have full time jobs while performing ministry activities for BBC / Gracepoint.

Noteworthy Milestones

1990s - Becky and Paul move to Boston to plant BBC Boston, to minister to Harvard, MIT, etc. Pastor Ed and Kelly Kang take over as the head pastor at BBC Berkeley.

Approx. 2001-2002, After an all nationwide (or global?) meeting of BBC leaders , the decision is made to shuffle around multiple pastors and staff to different campuses. The exact reasoning is probably only known to Pastors and leadership members who were in attendance. Some of the moves include Pastor Chris Pak moving from BBC Boston to take over as head pastor at BBC Silicon Valley and Pastor Daniel / YB Im moving from BBC Silicon Valley to BBC Los Angeles. Pastor Andy Pak, the bother of Pastor Chris Pak, went to England to pursue / finish his PhD. Though I can't recall if it was in relation to this huge shuffle of staff. Many pastors and staff moved across the country and sometimes across the globe to take over or replace pastors at other BBCs. It would take a complex flow chart and a photographic memory to document all the moves from so long ago.

Approx. 2006 - Ed sends a letter to Becky, indicating that he is breaking off from Berkland. The contents of the letter are not made known to the congregation at the time. They may have never actually been made public, but the contents were leaked at some point later on. The explanation given AT THE TIME to all BBC members was that Becky and Paul went somewhere (Europe?) and saw a lot of old grand church buildings. While impressed with the majesty of those buildings, they also decided they didn't want their own church to stagnate like their ancient European counterparts . Thus instead of seeking power and trying to become the heads of really large, but perhaps ossifying church organizations, they wanted to empower their pastors to go out and start their own ministries and churches. Always with the goal in mind that they will try to reach as many people for Jesus.

There is a parallel set of events that occurred behind the scenes, of what is now colloquially referred to as, "the schism," that many people within the church were not privy to. The most important context is what was included in the letter. In summary, Ed was laying out a set of critiques to Becky and stating that he would be breaking off from BBC and heading his own church.

Leaked letter from Ed to Becky

2006- formation of Gracepoint (GP) church.

Almost all of the former BBC churches changed their names at this time. BBC Silicon Valley became Bridgeway church. BBC Davis (located near UC Davis in California) became Waypoint Church for some time while remaining affiliated with the Berkeley Branch, from now on referred to as Gracepoint, GP, or Gracepoint Berkeley. Waypoint eventually changes its name to Gracepoint Davis. I cannot emphasize enough how confusing the names get. Berkland Baptist Church in Berkeley and several other BBC branches cease to exist, though in practicality the biggest change was the name and most things remained the same. (Other editors will have to fill in the blanks in this section).

Various BBC churches globally became specifically affiliated with particular former BBC branches. Other wiki editors will have to fil in this part.

I have no knowledge of what became of BBC after that, I assume Becky and Paul continued to use the name and BBC may still exist in the Boston Area and the East Coast. A google search shows that Becky was at least at one point a chaplain associated with Harvard University.

https://chaplains.harvard.edu/people/rebekah-kim

2006-present It was not publicized, but there were in hindsight hints that there was more to the schism than what was publicly announced to all the church members. One of these was a hand shake and nod agreement that former BBC churches would not start new church plants at the locations where another former BBC already existed, for a certain number of years. This was not meant to be public knowledge but rather an agreement between all former BBC churches. The statute of limitations on that agreement has since expired, but the original duration was unknown.

GP begins a rapid expansion at some point to various college campuses. including at locations of other former BBC churches.

For reference, this website is sort of a snapshot of a list of potential future Church plants from around 2021: http://gracepoint-berkeley.blogspot.com/2021/05/gracepoint-church-plant-targets-summer.html?m=1

Current association between BBC and GP

Nearly since its inception, BBC has faced many critiques, including being labeled a cult. It even has a webpage explaining why it's not a cult. So therefore it cannot be one. It says so on the internet.

https://www.gracepointonline.org/is-gracepoint-a-cult

GP members have been quoted multiple times as stating that the practices that led to it being labeled a cult occurred during the BBC days. Ed broke off from BBC to reform and fix those problems. All the problems were because of BBC and Becky. (Proceeds to wash hands in bowl of water and walk away quietly).

GP has many ministries with many names across many different college campuses. These are rapidly changing. Attempting to document all of them would be akin to playing a game where you try to hit a mole or small vermin in a hole with a hammer but as soon as you do the 2 other moles appear in different random holes and then when you try to hit them even more pop up and it would be impossible to keep up with. Is there a name for that?