Last Sunday, 24 people accepted Christ at the monthly Gospel Presentation Meeting. But as I was driving home, I was more depressed than elated, because 25 people – more than the number who accepted Christ – simply confirmed their salvation. Calling themselves “confirmed” means that, instead of accepting Jesus for the first time, they had already accepted Christ in the past. Usually two or three people mark themselves as confirmed. Given the large number this time, it indicates that many people who are becoming our church members are already Christians.
Most people who confirmed their salvation at the meeting are from out of state or from Korea. We strictly prohibit the members of area churches from joining our church, so it’s not sheep stealing. Still, I was depressed, because I felt that our church members’ will to reach non-believers is weakening.
The percentage of Christians among Koreans is reported to be 17%. This means that if Jesus came back tonight, in a city of 100,000 people, only 17,000 would go to Heaven; the other 83,000 people would go to Hell.
However, most churches are not interested in the perishing 83,000. They are only interested in the 17,000 who would already be going to Heaven. They worship with the saved, fellowship with them, teach them, and train them. If church membership increases when already-saved people come, they are proud of it. And if people who are saved leave their church for another, they get upset.
Who will take care of the perishing group of 83,000, for whom God sent His Son to die?
The spirit of the house church is to save the 83% unsaved and help move them to the group who are saved. After they are saved, it is fine if they stay with the church where they are saved and equally fine if they move to other church. It is not our job to make them members of certain church; it is our job to make them God’s children.
I am depressed because this spirit seems to be wavering.
Churches that grow in numbers but with few conversion start with this idea: “People who are dissatisfied their church and stop going to church altogether need another home church. Why shouldn’t we become their home church?” or “Isn’t it good to invite church-goers to our church to train them to become better disciples?”
They eventually become sheep-stealing, good-for-nothing churches that see their membership grow but see little conversion, because all their energy is spent on taking care of believers leaving no energy for non-believers.
I am depressed because I am wondering whether our house churches are becoming like these churches.
As senior pastor, I don’t want rapid house church growth. Nor do I want frequent house church multiplication. The goal is saving souls. As far as I am concerned, it is sufficient if every house church helps just one family who is on the way to Hell to become a family of God, destined for Heaven, every one or two years.
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