House Churches Are Settling Down

I just came back from a 6-month trip. It was longer than usual because it included a trip with the board members of House Church Ministries International. The board members meet once a year, hosted alternately by pastors serving in North America and Korea. This year was the North American board members’ turn to host and we decided to take a field trip together and investigate several canyons, including the Great Canyon, that have evidence of the Flood. My wife and I had already taken a similar trip but we still learned a lot from this one.

The board members from Korea decided to take an Alaskan cruise afterwards because many of them had reasons to celebrate, including 60th birthdays, 30th wedding anniversaries, and first sabbaticals after many years of service. They were able to save money by celebrating while they were already visiting the U.S. My wife and I joined them because they needed interpreters. We also enjoyed the trip tremendously.

But most of my trip was spent speaking at seminars, conferences, revival meetings, and special lectures on the House Church. I traveled throughout the U.S, Korea, Australia, and New Zealand.

It’s been 19 years since we implemented the House Church. Some other house churches are as much as 10 years old. But as I traveled over the world, I noticed that most house churches showed characteristics typical of a 3-year-old house church.

It takes 3 years for pastors and their churches to get used to house church principles and methods of ministries. Most house churches seem to have passed this stage and completed that paradigm shift.

At the same time, they are encountering problems that 3-year-old house churches typically experience: church-wide fatigue that shows up when their churches don’t transform from being fellowship-oriented to mission-oriented, exhaustion by Shepherds and their spouses that results from serving without seeing any conversions, and anxiety suffered by pastors when their churches don’t grow in the ways they expected.

These are merely inevitable growing pains. I feel that if pastors do not compromise their principles and stick to them, enduring to the end, their house churches will take root because their pastors are both faithful and capable, and there are regular regional meetings where they can receive support and guidance from other pastors.

Many pastors expressed their appreciation for Seoul Baptist church, believing that it has helped their churches become what they are now. They were also concerned that Seoul Baptist may stop being a model house church after I retire. I assured them that there will be no problems because Pastor Soo-kwan Lee understands the house church inside out, and our staff, deacons, Shepherds, and church members are determined to help our church continue to play a leading role in spreading the house church.

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