ubfriends 10th Anniversary Edition

For those affected by undue religious influence

archived articles and discussions:

ubfriends 1.0 - 2010 to 2015

ubfriends 2.0 - 2015 to 2018

ubfriends 3.0 - 2018 to 2019

Friendship rose

What is UBF?

The University Bible Fellowship (UBF; Korean: 대학생성경읽기선교회) is a college student ministry that originated in South Korea in 1961, and incoporated as a non-profit religious group in Mississippi, USA in 1975. UBF is structured as a loose network of chapters on college campuses around the world, bound together by specific ideology called "kingdom of priests and holy nation" (KOPAHN). As of 2014, UBF had 323 chapters, with about 6,000 members worldwide. The UBF international headquarters is currently in Chicago, IL USA. Each chapter has a chapter director, who in recent years is sometimes called "pastor". Membership to the group is controlled by individual shepherd-sheep relationships, with a hierarchy of shepherds and directors leading up to the General Director.

Out of 323 chapters, about half (159 to be exact) are nothing more than one family living by themselves near a campus, called a house church in UBF terminology. The other half of the chapters consist of two, three or more families. The largest chapters in the US outside of Chicago are in the Washington D.C. and Los Angeles areas. Day to day management of these satellite chapters is left to the local chapter director normally. The power center chapters, often called HQ or headquarters, generally have a hands-off attitude. Instead of going out to support the satellite chapters, each HQ chapter is seen as sort of a base camp, where members go to be re-charged in their faith. Monetary support is not given to the satellite chapters except in extreme cases. Instead, offering money is sent into the HQ chapters.

UBF is a private community. Rarely have outsiders seen what I have seen. Only students are allowed inside and as such only an insider like myself can describe what the community is like. Outsiders will typically see a conservative evangelical Bible study fellowship with a few strange additions that might be dismissed as just being part of Korean culture.

The UBF system is built on something called one-to-one Bible study. Every new student recruited on campus is assigned a personal, lifelong shepherd to watch over his or her life. The shepherd is to be a spiritual parent for the student. He or she is responsible for the moral and spiritual performance and growth of the student into the UBF system.


What is UBF?

Identity Snatchers: Exposing a Korean Campus Bible Cult, pg. 22-23