I just returned from Korea after leading three meetings there on the house church – one conference, one seminar for pastors, and one for lay people.
The seminar for pastors, held in Junju, was especially meaningful to me. For the first time, multiple churches co-sponsored a seminar, here four churches, each having a little over 100 members. It was also the first time a seminar was held in a commercial building; the church that provided space meets in the basement of a downtown commercial building. Many small churches meet in commercial buildings and their pastors must have been very encouraged to see a church in similar circumstances sponsor a seminar.
Pastors of house churches in a nearby city, Iksan, came to visit me with their wives. I noticed that most of them were introverts. That temperament suits house church pastors where the role is primarily that of an enabler. One of them joked that I saved introvert pastors by introducing the house church.
Among the many variations of house churches (or cell churches) currently being advocated, our model seems the most successful. I think there are three reasons for this success.
First, we take seriously our Lord’s word that the kingdom of heaven is like leaven. Instead of advertising our seminars, we depend on the recommendations of people who have already attended. People who are interested in the house church are usually faithful, as are the people they refer to the seminars. Because faithful people have been involved in house churches, they have been successful.
Second, we refuse to depend solely on classroom lectures. We only hold seminars when house churches are available and sacrificial enough to provide room and board to the participants. That way participants can visit and experience the house church, not just listen to lectures.
Third, we try to keep the house church system simple. We avoid too much training and managing and let shepherds do ministry on their own and learn from their experience. So our house churches are easy to start and maintain.
I am grateful to God for using our church as a model for the New Testament church.
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