Shepherds’ Wives Are Not Allowed

As we’re about to start our “New Life” introductory Bible class, let me say something about the class meal preparation. As you know, members take turns cooking and serving food while they’re taking the class. Each person gets exactly one turn. The purpose of this is to give people an opportunity to serve, which is the ultimate goal in studying the Bible. However, some shepherds’ wives have been doing the food preparation for their house church members who are taking the class. They started doing this because some people were unable to come early to prepare food or did not know how to cook. In time, it has become a tradition for house church shepherds’ wives to cook. Unfortunately, this defeats the purpose of the practice.

Starting with this class, shepherds and their wives are not allowed in the kitchen. I want class members to prepare food by themselves. They may have to take a half or whole day from work but this is how to learn to make sacrifices and serve. House church members other than shepherds and their wives are still welcome in the kitchen. Hopefully, those who have recently finished the class will cook for their fellow house church members, but we won’t make this a rule.

Speaking of food, I’d like to make another suggestion. From now on, the evening meal shared before house church meetings will be called the “Love Feast” instead of just “dinner”. New Testament Christians shared the Lord’s Supper every time they met because it was a part of the meal they had together. That meal was called the Love Feast. The name may have come from the fact that it was an occasion to serve food to the less fortunate. It is relatively easy to make the Lord’s Supper a part of the meal when it mainly consists of bread and wine (or grape juice), but it’s very difficult to do with Korean food. So we won’t try to incorporate the Lord’s Supper with the meal, but it’s still a good idea to call it the Love Feast since our house church is modeled after New Testament churches. How we name things can influence our perception. I hope that all house church members use this terminology.

Speaking of names, the Sunday worship service will now be called the Joint House Church Celebration. As you know, each house church is an autonomous church. These house churches are united to form Seoul Baptist Church. For this reason, people cannot be members of Seoul Baptist Church unless they become members of a house church first. Some Christians from traditional churches still think that Seoul Baptist is the only real church and that Sunday service is the only real worship service. I want to change the name to give a strong message that house churches are real churches and that house church meetings are true worship services.

These name changes are not my idea. There’s a church in Florida that calls their Sunday worship service the Joint House Church Celebration. They call the lunch served after the service the Lord’s Supper. There’s a church in Korea that calls the meal shared at house church meetings the Love Feast. I think they have the right idea; we should learn from them.

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