I just came back from a retreat in Conroe for pastors and their families who are pastoring house churches in the Southeastern U.S. I left Houston at around 11 PM after the third Sunday worship service but got lost on the way and arrived at the retreat site at almost 1 AM. Two families from Dallas, two from Austin, one from College Station and three from Houston (including Pastor Chai’s family and my own) came to participate. I’d like to share a few of thoughts about the retreat.
First, I saw the beauty of unity, when pastors become one. We know that churches should be unified and that pastors are coworkers for the same Lord. In pursuit of this, we form pastoral associations and schedule joint events. But real unity is rarely achieved through such organizations or activities. True unity is achieved only when pastors have the same goal and the same spirit. The pastors who attended the retreat exhibited this kind of unity.
Second, I became hopeful about the future of the Korean-American church. The pastors who came to the retreat are relatively young, mostly in their early forties. They are determined to be faithful to the Great Commission and are willing to forgo the ambition to become “successful” pastors of large congregations. They show this determination by refusing membership to those who are already believers. One pastor, who is more than qualified to pastor a large church, declared to his congregation his intentions to retire at his church, although the church is small and there are few Korean-Americans in that city. He did this because it is essential to stay at the same church for at least 10 years for house churches to take root. This sincerity and zeal made me optimistic about the future of Korean-American churches.
Third, I rediscovered Pastor Chai’s gift of counseling. Since I became Associate Pastor, I’ve attended numerous meetings where pastors who come as house church interns ask Pastor Chai questions about problems they have in converting their traditional churches to house churches. I always feel that Pastor Chai’s advice is right and appropriate. I believe that such wisdom must come from God. During the retreat, I witnessed him time and again giving wise counsel to pastors who have problems at their churches.
I have a feeling that God has in store for Pastor Chai a ministry that is larger than what he is already doing. The world we live in is in trouble. The church is the only hope for the world. To help the world, churches must be healthy and strong. To become healthy, churches must have strong leadership from their pastors. And pastors need someone to show the way, guide them, and be a role model. I believe that God will use Pastor Chai in this role more and more in the future.
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