Close to 1,000 pastors have already attended the House Church Seminars for Pastors. Some successfully established the house churches while other pastors failed. Strangely, the pastors who already had well established churches failed, while those pastors without prior experience succeeded at establishing the house churches. It is evident in following two pastors.
Pastor Son Won Bae of San Jose Emanuel Church, who sponsored the House Church Seminars for Lay Leaders last year, was a Princeton Seminary doctoral student, majoring in Systematic Theology before he became a pastor. His goal was to obtain three years of pastoral experience before becoming a seminary professor, but now is committed to being a full time pastor. Realizing his lack of pastoral experience, he attended the seminar to learn more about being a pastor. He returned to San Jose, converted his church to a house church, and now the Emanuel Church is the fastest growing church in San Jose.
Pastor Kim In Gee of Orlando Korean Presbyterian Church, who also sponsored the House Church Seminars for Lay Leaders last year, was a postal worker who became a pastor. He attended the seminar while he was an assistant pastor, then became the senior pastor of the Orlando Korean Presbyterian Church, converted to house church, and now has the fastest growing church in the area.
The reason already successful pastors fail at house church is because they already have a fixed pastoral philosophy and their own pastoral style. It is difficult to completely escape from their existing philosophy and fully convert to house church system. I’ve often seen pastors who start house churches, not being 100% fully committed to the house church, and result in downgrading their church to small groups. A professor specializing in house church once said, It is difficult for a pastor who had more than 50 members to convert to a house church. It’s an extreme statement but certainly makes sense.
Starting next spring, I would like to give opportunities to the seminary students. Since they have no pastoral experience, I think they will have greater possibility to adopt and start house churches. Until now, we avoided holding a Seminar over the spring break. I wanted our church members to be able to travel and enjoy time with their family. However, starting next year, we will hold the Seminar over the spring break period. Next House Church Seminars for Pastors is scheduled 3/11 (Tue)~3/16 (Sun), coinciding with the spring break period for the Southwestern Theological Seminary.
We will sponsor only one Seminar for Pastors at each spring. We decided to share the privilege of sponsoring a seminar with the Atlanta Korean Baptist Church starting next year. They will sponsor a seminar at fall. Please adjust your vacation and travel plans accordingly, and plan to sponsor the seminar by providing room and board for the seminar attendees as your have done and opening the house church meeting to them so that they observe and experience the house church.
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