When I am out of town, it feels a little awkward to write about personal matters or church affairs. So I’ll be writing about the house church for the next few weeks. Today I will share how the House Church Seminar for Pastors started.
I did not start the house church with a grand vision. I received Christ in my thirties by reading the Bible. The Bible has been the most important guide in my life. When I became a Christian, I tried to live by the Bible. When I became a pastor, I tried to build a church based on Biblical principles. I had been bothered by the fact that most traditional churches did not follow Biblical principles in their ministries and practices. So when I came to Seoul Baptist, I tried to make our church look as much like the Biblical church as possible.
The end result was the house church.
Seoul Baptist Church converted to the house church in October 1993, ten months after I came to Houston. Three years later, I wrote a book detailing my experiences in converting a traditional church to the house church. The book became popular and many pastors started to call me to learn more about our house church.
In 1999, a publisher of a Baptist newspaper suggested that I offer a seminar for pastors. He said that there was strong interest in our house church among Korean pastors in the U.S. At that time, neither me nor the church was widely known, so I didn’t have confidence that pastors would actually come. But I decided to offer it at least once to see if what he said was true. I was so uncertain then that I asked the organizers to delete the word “first” from the poster, which originally had the title “The First House Church Seminar For Pastors”. I was not sure there would be a second.
To my utter surprise 36 people actually came! This convinced me that there was real interest in the house church. So we decided to offer the seminar for pastors twice a year.
I wanted to help pastors who served at small churches, so we offered free room and board to seminar participants and returned the registration fee when they completed the seminar. It’s become a tradition.
We let the pastors to stay at our members’ houses to free them from expenses. This practice happened to agree with one of our house church principles: disciples are made not by hearing but by seeing – the principle of modeling. Many pastors are moved by the sacrificial lives of our house church leaders and become enthusiastic about the house church.
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