At the church where I served before I came to Houston, there was man who had once been an active member of a well-known campus mission organization. He was married and had two kids. He was not happy with his church life, however, because he was suffering from guilt – guilt that he was not dedicated enough as a Christian.
His guilt stemmed from the high standard for committed Christians that the mission organization he belonged to set up. It was so high that only college students without families to support could reach it. It became next to impossible to live that kind of life once they got married and had children. So many became full time staff workers of mission organizations or went to seminary to become ministers or missionaries. Those who didn’t have that option frequently became lukewarm church members, because they thought that they could not live a truly committed Christian life.
This is one of the reasons why I started the house church: it provides an opportunity to live a committed Christian life, regardless of how old you are, whether you are married, have children, what kind of job you have, or whether you’re working or retired.
I believe that all of our church members live a dedicated life; they belong to a house church and assume various responsibilities. In addition, most of them are involved in different ministries at Seoul Baptist. More than 300 members serve as Shepherds and Shepherdesses. I don’t think I’m exaggerating too much when I say that every member of our church is a minister.
One thing house churches pursue is “natural” spirituality and “lifestyle” ministry. Some “spiritual” people are so otherworldly that they’re almost eccentric. I believe that being spiritual means living a natural life, but filled with the power of the Spirit. Many traditional church members think that the “ministry” is something you do at church or for church. But I believe that doing ministry means living your everyday life with the purpose of fulfilling God’s will in our ordinary lives.
I think this ideal has been achieved to some extent in our church. Certain spiritual gifts, such as speaking in tongues, healing, and prophecies, are exercised without fanfare. We do not have any program that promotes prayer, but the majority of our members pray regularly. We did not set an artificial target for the portion of our church budget that should be spent for missions, but about 30 percent is being used for that purpose.
Some churches with strong discipleship programs produce highly dedicated Christian workers, probably much more dedicated than our church leaders. But their number is few. I would rather have a church where all members are equally dedicated than a church where a small elite group of people are strongly dedicated but the majority are lukewarm.
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