As the House Church movement spreads, I can’t avoid traveling frequently and for long periods of time. It’s become my custom to take two weeks-long trips in the spring and fall. I think this is better than taking several short trips.
I am able to take these long trips because Pastor Lee can take my place when I am absent. He is so good in filling my shoes that our members don’t feel any difference when I am home or away. In fact, some young members enjoy Pastor Lee’s sermons so much so that they look forward to when I am gone.
This is a critical time for the House Church movement. It’s become an important issue for some denominations in Korea. Opposition will only strengthen if we argue about the House Church. The best way to answer criticism is to build as many as healthy house churches as possible so that critics can actually see that House Churches are true New Testament churches and nothing for them to worry about.
I try to help this cause by leading House Church seminars and conferences during my long trips.
In some ways, I feel like Don Quixote, a romantic fool. There are tens of thousands of churches in Korea and thousands of Korean-speaking congregations in North America. But there are only a little more than 100 churches that have successfully converted to House Churches. (Many more call themselves “house churches”, but they are just imitations, not churches modeled after New Testament churches.) Our church, deemed by many as a forerunner of the House Church movement, is only a medium-sized church whose Sunday attendance is only 2,000. Most pastors in Korea and North America have never heard my name.
Yet I am busy trying to make the House Church the 21st century model in Korea and North America. I have to admit that I sometimes feel like I am a fool or a day-dreamer. But Jesus gave the Great Commission to the Apostles to make all the tribes on the earth His disciples. There were only eleven Apostles and they were very common, ordinary people. Yet He accomplished His dream through them; even though there are tribes who have yet to hear the Good News, the Gospel has reached most of the tribes on earth.
So I don’t worry about the results. I just try to do my best to accomplish what I feel I am commanded to do. I don’t know whether the House Church will become the church paradigm of the 21st century. If not, God will use our House Church as a foundation to build the church He dreams of.
Some pastors have suggested that I retire early so I can concentrate on helping and spreading the house church. But if I quit pastoring, I may become less effective as a House Church leader, as I may turn into a mere theoretician. So as long as our church members allow it and Pastor Lee doesn’t mind, I will continue to just take several weeks from my pastoral duties a couples of times a year to travel and promote the House Church.
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