I accepted Jesus as my Lord and savior in the spring of 1993. In 1987, I started working for a Korean conglomerate. It was a dream career path for a Korean college graduate. However, a difficult situation at work turned into a crisis of my life. Someone told me, ‘If you have trouble, go before God and pray. He does not ignore our prayers.’ At that time, it was only few weeks since I started attending church. Nevertheless, I started to go dawn prayer meeting and my walk with God started. My prayer was answered exactly 1 year later, but during that time, I had such intimate relationship with God. The relationship was so real to a point it could give me goose bumps…
Even though I met God like that, my church life was not a happy one. Church was a constant cause of worries which I did not see any solutions. The church I attended was a so called ‘newly planted church’, and there were endless problems in that tiny church – conflict among church members, friction with the pastor, offended members leaving church, etc. I attended the church for 5 years and during that time period, church folded three times. Each time, the pastor wanted me to stay with him so I ended up in the middle of a fledgling church and witnessed the pains of church growth. It was difficult to understand. Why my church which I loved so dearly had so many problems. Sometimes, I struggled with worries and sometimes, I was tempted to flee from the church.
On the other hand, my faith was stagnant. My life and my faith were two different elements. I would live in the world, then go to church once or twice a week for worship. That was my life of faith and that gave me a hunger which could not be satisfied. Also, I was afraid of losing the sweet memory of my early communion with God. In 1998, the company transferred me to Boston and the situation at the church there was not much different. This church was peaceful, but the hunger for an authentic church was still there.
When I moved to Houston and started attending Seoul Baptist Church of Houston, the story was quite different. This church provided answers to all the problems I had. There was a great pastor who was a model pastor in every way, the church pushed faith into daily lives so that faith was a power behind church member’s lives. In this church, church members were not bystanders who watched pastor’s work. The members of this church worked out their faith and to reach out and evangelize the world around them. Through these activities, discipleship was practiced automatically. I was amazed to meet such a church and thought that I would not mind giving my whole life to such a leader.
There are many great pastors here and there. However, there are not that many churches who have a biblically solid theory for church with firmly established roles for pastors and congregations. Visiting churches with famous pastors and churches who receive much praise was often disheartening. I understand that church cannot be perfect since it is a group of imperfect people. I am so thankful that we are making a biblical church model through house church.
Today is the 37th anniversary of Houston Seoul Church. It has been 22 years since house church system has been established. I praise God who allowed us to have house church and express my sincere appreciation to Reverend Chai who set up and developed the house church system. Happy Birthday, Houston Seoul Church!
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