I just returned from a 3-week long trip from Korea, where I led 4 House Church seminars and conferences. Wherever I went, I found that Seoul Baptist Church was recognized as a model House Church. This made me both proud and humbled at the same time. For our church members, my co-laborers in Christ, I’d like to make a brief report of my trip.
2005 will be remembered as a watershed year for the House Church movement. Prior to my last trip, I was not sure if the House Church movement would take root, but I am now confident that it will happen. In a few years there will be many exemplary house churches.
There are several reasons for my optimism.
First, pastors of large churches, whose Sunday attendance ranges between one and two thousand, are starting house churches. They are sincere pastors who were bothered by the fact that their church growth was not coming from conversions but from Christians transferring from other churches. They were also bothered by the fact that their churches seemed very different from the churches depicted in the New Testament.
Until now I have been primarily interested in helping small churches because most churches are small and need help. So when pastors of large churches showed interest in the house church, I didn’t pay them too much attention, saying, “You are doing fine already. Don’t bother with the house church.” I knew they were interested in the house church just as another tool for church growth. But if pastors of large churches are sincere in their motives and successfully convert their churches to the house church, the house church movement will expand more rapidly.
Second, many young pastors who have replaced retiring pastors are successfully converting their traditional churches to house churches. In Korea, pastors who have been successful in this transition are mostly ones who founded the churches they serve at. Founding pastors usually have clout that makes it easier for them to change their traditional church structure to the house church structure. It is much more difficult for their successors because they must change deep-rooted traditions established by their predecessors. But despite the odds, many young pastors are becoming successful in this endeavor. This is a significant development for the house church movement because most pastors will be replaced by younger pastors in a few years. Unless their successors are successful in converting traditional churches, the house church movement will stall or even halt.
At the present moment, the future of the house church looks bright.
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