“I came to this country in 1975, after the Vietnam War. It was May 10. I remember that date very well,” said John Nguyen, pastor of Redeemer Baptist Church of Plano. “I moved in with an adoptive family, and I went to Mississippi College, a Baptist college in Clinton, MS. Then, I was called by God in 1980 to go into ministry.”
For the past 42 years, Nguyen has been a devoted worker in Baptist denominational life. It began with his call in 1980. He then served for two years at a Baptist church in Florida, working with refugees from Southeast Asia, before attending New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and receiving his Master of Divinity. In 1991, he moved to the Lone Star State and became a Texas Baptist.
“When I came to Texas from Tulsa, I knew Texas was a lot bigger state. I was thinking maybe this would be too big and the people not as friendly, but it was actually amazing,” Nguyen said. “The BGCT became a family for me. I got involved with the Dallas Baptist Association then got involved with the BGCT for all these years.”
Nguyen worked in the local church for 24 years when he came to Texas, pastoring Vietnamese Baptist Church of Garland. After that, he joined Texas Baptists to work with the Connections Team — now The Center for Ministerial Health — as representative for Area 8, the Dallas area. He served for two years in this position before the Lord began calling him back to the local church.
“Two of my friends approached me. They were pastoring two Vietnamese churches, one in Plano and one in Richardson. They felt they could be more effective together and wanted to merge into one church. They asked me if I would consider joining them as their senior pastor,” said Nguyen.
After much prayer and contemplation, Nguyen surrendered to God’s call to return to local church ministry. The two churches merged, forming Redeemer Baptist Church of Plano, which held its first service on January 1, 2019.
“The theme for our church is ‘One.’ That’s who we are — two churches becoming one,” said Nguyen. “Every Sunday we hold worship together, then people split up and we offer two different sermons — one in English and one in Vietnamese. We have different pastors to reach different generations. There is an English ministry pastor who serves the generations who came to America as children and absorbed American culture. We also have a pastor to reach the older generations who came to America in the 60s, 70s and 80s.”
Even while ministering in the local church, Nguyen remains involved in the cooperative ministry of Texas Baptists.
“I really appreciate the support and good relationships [Texas Baptists] provides. They help me to be a better pastor of the local church and are a tremendous resource. I attend most, if not all, of the yearly conventions and enjoy the fellowship and friendship and especially the support. I have attended lots of trainings. There is wonderful leadership, and the different departments are very helpful and resourceful for the local church.”
Along with trying to bounce back from the challenges brought on by COVID-19, Redeemer Baptist Church of Plano is also thinking about the future generations in the Vietnamese church.
“Pray for the second generation. That is our greatest concern. Not many young [Vietnamese] people are going into ministry, even for English ministry. We are looking for help from other Korean and Anglo churches and even from the seminaries in the DFW area. Second generation leadership and members is the biggest issue we are facing.”
Redeemer Baptist Church of Plano is a partner of Texas Baptists Intercultural Ministries. This ministry seeks to strengthen intercultural churches by serving as an advocate and partner. To learn more, click here.