There probably aren’t many churches in America where the number of people attending weekly small group/house church is about the same or exceed the number of Sunday worship attendance other than our New Life and the Korean speaking congregation of Seoul Baptist Church. Everyone who hears about this phenomenon is truly amazed. It truly is God who is doing something very special amongst us. Through our house church ministry we have come to realize the preciousness of caring for one another in Christ, the importance of reaching out to the lost, and the blessing of experiencing God in an intimate and personal way. We are receiving all these benefits from God through the house church ministry because we are being obedient to Him. As long as we exist as a church, we will continue to do house church ministry not because it works but because it is God’s will.
Over the years, however, I have heard comments from some of you that since we greatly emphasize house church ministry we don’t get to know brothers and sisters in Christ from different house churches. This actually is not such a bad thing as human beings don’t have the ability to have personal and meaningful relationships with more than about twelve people. Just count how many real close friends you have! You probably can’t count more than three or four at one time. Even Jesus had only twelve close friends/disciples he spent a lot of time with. That’s why I emphasize house church ministry through which you can make lifelong friends who will be there for you in times of joy and pain.
At the same time, I realize that it is beneficial to get to know more people from New Life who are not part of your house church. You will most likely not have the time or the energy often for meaningful relationships outside of your house church if your house church is functioning properly. Nevertheless, I think we could get to know others from different house churches more than at surface level. That’s why we are trying joint house churches for a year starting from October.
In the past, I left it up to the shepherds to organize their joint house churches for the purpose of getting to know others better from different house churches. Some tried it and had a great experience. Others didn’t get to try it at all. As a result, it is very difficult to gauge the benefits of joint house churches.
For this year, all the shepherds have decided to do joint house churches once every two months beginning next month. We will follow a very systematic rotational system so that it would not be two house churches that already know each other well getting together all the time. At the end of the year, in August of 2007, we will have gotten together with six other house churches that most likely are made up of six to twelve people. This means, we will possibly get to know about 36 to 72 people from New Life more than just by their faces. We will get to know their names, interests, pet peeves and a little bit of their personal stories.
I am looking forward to this new aspect of our ministry, and I would appreciate if all of us could take strong ownership of it by fully participating in it.
Let me also share a few words with you about our upcoming fall retreat. This is one of our most important and major events of the year. We have been going on to this annual retreat for the past ten years including the year before we actually started New Life. And I can honestly say to you that every single retreat has been truly special to many of us who were there. This year’s retreat will not be any different. The theme is “Victory in Jesus” which will be extremely helpful for all of us who are frequently struggling with some besetting sins in our lives. Pastor Arnold Wong will be the speaker for us. He may not like to hear this, but he is many years older than I am and has much more experience in life as a godly Christian. He also used to be a pharmacist, so he can connect with you who are serving the Lord as you are working in the marketplace.
As of now, we have about 150 adults and 50 children that have signed up to go. Can I ask all of you, unless you have a dire emergency or unavoidable schedule conflict, to sign up and go, so we can all be at a place where God will show up and work in our midst mightily? When I see God working powerfully, pouring out His blessings upon us at these retreats, I am saddened to know that many of you are not there to experience it all. Let’s get away from our busy schedule for two/three days to connect with our fellow Christian brothers and sisters and develop our intimacy with our Heavenly Father.
Please sign up for the retreat today! 🙂
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