The house church movement is now a tidal wave. So many people are trying to attend house church seminars that we can’t accommodate them all. The Korean Baptist Church of Atlanta held seminars for lay leaders two weeks in a row because they didn’t have the heart to turn away so many people. A seminar for lay-people scheduled for June at the Ark Mission Church in Sacramento had so many applicants that they stopped accepting applications. They also decided to hold the seminar for two consecutive weeks in order to accommodate those who had already applied. Our church may also have to offer another seminar for lay-people to deal with the demand.
The problem is bigger in Korea. The Open Door Church in Seoul stopped accepting applications for their pastors’ seminar after two hours because there was no room. Another church stopped accepting applications after just 10 minutes, even though registration was opened at midnight. An upcoming conference in Junju also could not accommodate the number of applicants and were forced to turn many of them down.
Unless we take an action to alleviate the problem it will become worse. For pastors’ seminars, we may need to screen people so that only those who are seriously considering converting their churches from traditional churches to house churches are allowed to attend. In Korea, where the problem is more severe, it may help if we hold seminars from Tuesday to Sunday as it is done in the US, rather than from Monday to Friday as it is currently done. Asking them to attend Sunday worship service as a part of the seminar schedule will allow pastors who are really committed to house churches to attend while discouraging people who want to attend out of curiosity. Another option being considered is to accept only those who are recommended by pastors who have already attended house church seminars.
Several options are being considered for lay seminars as well. One obvious option is to offer more seminars, but this won’t be possible for a while because there are not enough strong churches to do that. Another option is to limit the number of people who can attend from one church. This will allow lay leaders from more churches to participate. Another option is to start conferences for shepherds and their spouses who have served for a certain period of time. This will make rooms for leaders of the churches who are about to launch house churches.
I think that the reason house churches have spread so quickly is that it pleases God. I entreat our church members to be a part of this house church movement. Find house churches and join them when you move. Pastors who have started house churches say that anyone who has some kind of house church experience can be a great help. If they have experience in serving as a shepherd it is even better, but just being a member of a house church is also valuable. Brother Chan Kyu, who served as Deputy Shepherd when he was with us, and Brother Won Ho Song, who converted from Buddhism to Christianity while he was studying at Rice, are now serving as shepherds at the Open Door Church in Seoul. I hope many others follow their example.
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