We have many medical school students here at New Life. After four years of studying, they all have to apply and get matched to a residency program to get more practical training to become a full-fledged doctor. Some will stay in Houston but some will leave to go to other places for their residency. This past week, I heard from two members that they got matched to places in California. One is a shepherd and the other one is a core member in our Missions Team. A great loss for Texas but a great gain for California!
From God’s perspective, however, this could turn out to be a great thing if these two things are true: one, our medical school students sincerely sought after God through much prayer and godly counsel for their decision in regards to their residency program and applied accordingly; and two, their move will increase God’s kingdom through their involvement in a new local church that they will be part of.
Medical school students are not the only ones who move away from Houston. Members of New Life move away for various reasons such as graduate school, job, marriage, etc. When this move happens, I would like to ask you humbly yet boldly to go to a church that is doing or trying to do house church ministry. You may say that this is a no-brainer. New Life is all about building the church in the spirit of the New Testament through house church with three axes and four pillars. And you would have no problem going to a church like that outside of Houston. But if you know the condition and reality of those churches that are trying to do house church, you will realize that what I am asking you to do is not easy and it will take a lot of courage, faith and sacrifice to obey and follow. Therefore, I am asking you to do a harder thing.
What is the condition or reality of those churches that are trying to do house church? First, as of now, they are mostly Korean and Korean-American churches. God used Martin Luther to start the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. He happened to be a German. God is using Pastor Young G. Chai in order to renew and restore His church in the spirit of the New Testament. And he happens to be a Korean-American. As a result, currently, this movement of house church is naturally strong in the US and Korea among Korean churches or those churches that are closely related to Korean churches such as New Life. When some of you who are not Korean-Americans enter into one of these Korean or Korean-American churches, the Korean culture and smell may be so strong that you may wonder what in the world you are doing in that church. And I fully understand that. I am simply asking you to bear with that for the next five or ten years because it will change. Your pastor is working very hard to teach and educate those Korean-American pastors and churches that are doing house church ministry the importance of creating the right atmosphere for all nations to come and find peace and comfort. And one thing I can say for sure about this house church movement is that it will only get bigger and greater because it is biblical and God loves His church and He uses those whose hearts are fully devoted to Him.
Second, these churches are very small with a limited amount of people and financial resources. Therefore, they don’t look all that attractive. In every major city in the US, there are these mega churches that are very attractive and impressive with high-powered programs and highly gifted speakers. Small churches can’t compete with them. In fact, many small churches die out because of these mega churches. If these mega churches are biblically founded upon the four pillars that we preach and emphasize, then we will praise God for them. Unfortunately, that is always not the case.
Due to these two reasons, it will not be easy to attend and become members of these churches. But somebody needs to be a trailblazer going through difficult and unchartered territory. Anyone can become a member of a mega church where you can hide or pick and choose what you want to do. It takes a man or woman of courage and faith to be a member of a small and seemingly unattractive church with the hope and vision of restoring the church in the spirit of the New Testament. And imagine what God can do through some of you who are trained well with house church ministry going to these resource-challenged churches that are trying to do house church ministry! This is another way New Life can become a resource church. Remember, New Life was not always this big and strong. In August 1997 when we began our congregation, we only had a little more than 20 members. And my English was a lot worse than it is now!
Therefore, New Life, I am asking you to do a hard and difficult thing for God’s kingdom and Christ’s church. When God is leading you to move away from Houston, please come and see me to find out if there is any church that is doing house church in the area that are you moving to. I trust that you will obey.
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