We just completed the 78th House Church Seminar For Shepherds. We will hold the 100th session later this year.
At first, we only had a seminar for pastors. But pastors started to see a need for a seminar geared towards laypeople, because converting traditional churches to house churches is not possible unless pastors and lay leaders own the same dream. So pastors turned to us for help.
At that time, we offered the House Church Seminar For Pastors twice a year. Having another house church seminar and providing room and board for participants would have been too great a burden for our church members. So we decided to have a seminar for lay leaders at a hotel so that our church members would not need to provide rooms or transportation.
The first seminar for lay leaders was held at a hotel near Bush Intercontinental Airport. The most memorable part of the seminar was that the thermostat was set so low it was freezing. Believe it or not, people who attended that seminar remember Houston as a very cold place!
During that time, the Korean Baptist Church of Atlanta successfully implemented the house church. I felt that it would be good for the house church movement if multiple churches offered house church seminars. So I asked Pastor J.J. Kim to sponsor a seminar for pastors. At first, he was reluctant because he felt his church was not ready to take on such an endeavor. But I was insistent and he eventually agreed.
I also insisted that he be the main speaker. Seminar participants would be staying at his church members’ houses, listening to the testimonies of his church members, and attending their house church meetings. It would be natural for him to speak on how he implemented the house church. So he became the main speaker and talked about the house church while I talked about the New Life Bible class. This has become a tradition: the pastor of the sponsoring church is the main speaker at house church seminars.
After the Korean Baptist Church of Atlanta started hosting a seminar for pastors, we didn’t need to offer the same seminar twice a year any longer. Instead, we started hosting a seminar for shepherds where we provided room and board, as we did with the seminar for pastors.
Pastors have less difficulty in converting their traditional churches to house churches these days because, thanks to the seminars for shepherds, lay leaders start house churches with a clearer understanding and better ministry skills. As the house church movement expands, the demand for shepherds’ seminars will increase. I hope that more and more churches start sponsoring house church seminars for shepherds so that there will be at least one seminar held somewhere every week throughout the year.
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