After the House Church Conference in Chicago, I spent some time with two good pastors who are not part of house church ministry network. I have known one of them for many years and the other one I just met through the first one. They are both very humble and down to earth. They both preach very well with good content and delivery. They have good relationships with most of their congregation members. Their wives are also very appreciated by their members because they are both committed to church ministry and serve faithfully and sacrificially without becoming a stumbling block to their church members which often happen due to pastors’ wives’ indifference towards ministry, overbearing style or materialistic tendency. These two pastors don’t seem to be concerned about money or power. Rather they seem to be faithful servants of God who love God’s word and His church. It is rare to see this kind of pastors and pastors’ wives in this day and age even though it is supposed to be very common and natural.
On Friday late night I had a chance to spend about three hours with them. We talked and shared a lot about church ministry. Because I sensed humility and genuineness in them, I truly wanted them to do house church ministry so that they too can experience the joy of building God’s church in the spirit of the New Testament. So, I shared with them about house church ministry. Interestingly, both of them had actually attended House Church Seminar for Pastors many years ago in our KSC. After the seminar, however, both of them didn’t implement it in their churches because they didn’t have the conviction and thought to themselves that it is not going to work in their churches.
During the conversation, we talked a lot about the condition and situation of the churches and pastors we are familiar with. After sharing with them about house church and pleading with them to come to House Church Conference for Pastors just once, I mostly listened to their sharing. However, just hearing their sharing about pastors and what is happening in many of the churches in Chicago, Southern California and Korea made me feel very discouraged and depressed. There is so much politics in churches and denominations. Pastors and church leaders are fighting against and suing each other in court due to their desire for money, ambition and power. These are unthinkable things to do as Christians but they are happening in churches all over the world.
Furthermore, I wasn’t able to hear from these two pastors about how or what they and their churches are doing to reach out to VIPs. They used the phrase “church grew” a lot in their sharing but they were always referring to the growth that happened by church members from one church transferring to another church which always creates an illusion that a church is growing which produces momentary excitement and high for pastors and church members that are on the receiving end. Tragically, almost all the transferred members move to other churches after some time when their selfish needs are not met. And when they leave, they often don’t leave quietly but disturbingly creating much confusion, division and pain in the body of Christ.
After the conversation I couldn’t help but to think about the joyful and meaningful experiences I had during the House Church Conference and compare the traditional churches with churches that are doing house church ministry. Pastors that I met and conversed with during the conference don’t seem to be eloquent preachers. Many of them pastor small churches by the world’s standard. They are struggling with finances. But I see joyful smile, deep conviction, unshakable courage and loving community in them. They have healthy confidence before God because they are convinced that house church ministry is after the heart of God revealed in the bible and they are in the thick of it. Even if their churches don’t become huge because they refrain themselves from indiscriminately receiving Christians coming from other cities or from other churches in the same city, they remind themselves and remind each other that it is fine as long as they are focused on and committed to reach out to VIPs whom God loves and desires to be saved. And they sense that God is deeply pleased with the kind of heart they have and ministry they are pursuing. And for these pastors that’s all that matters.
This conversation has affirmed and reaffirmed my commitment to house church ministry. And I have committed once again to do whatever it takes to help pastors and churches understand God’s desire for His church and build it in the spirit of the New Testament.
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