It has been almost 2 years since Pastor Young-Gi Chai has retired and left for Korea. He originally indicated that he will be away for about a year for the church to be settled down, but he ended up staying in Korea for much longer as there was a lot of work to be done for House Church Ministries in Korea. His presence in Korea may be necessary from time to time in the future due to the fact that he is still the president of House Church Ministries. But he has decided to publicly attend Seoul Church of Houston starting July of this year.
Pastor Chai thought that it maybe better for him to even not come back to us when he saw that our church has settled down very well after his retirement. He was probably worried about the effect that may have on the church’s stability with his return and even considered attending a local English speaking church when he came back. But I told him that there is no concern with this and all the members of our church earnestly wanted him to come back, and furthermore this will be a great model for other churches.
In reality, I strived to develop my independence in the beginning so I focused on my ministry without depending on anyone. But now I feel that I am settled down in my ministry so I requested of him attend our church to deliver sermons occasionally, attend staff meetings if his time allowed it, participate in staff retreat to share some of his wisdom with us, and most of all to be my mentor. God will be very pleased for each of us to put ourselves under a higher authority and I requested that since I am still young in my ministry, he become a senior advisor to me to help me in my ministry. He did not agree to all of my requests, but he agreed to start by coming back to us and delivering the sermon on the second Sunday of July.
Even with his return, he will be traveling frequently so he may not be involved in any other church events. But when the workload of House Church Ministries decrease in the future, he may consider doing something about his original ministry plans and stay with us as one of our seniors. With this background, I think we need to have some respect for him as a retired pastor. So we will be putting his name on the front page of our Sunday bulletin as Retired Pastor. On the new church website that we will be rolling out soon, we will also create a blog for him that will be named “Blog of Retired Pastor Young-Gi Chai” with his profile, create links to House Church President’s Corner and his writings and books.
There are many churches that experience difficulties after a great pastor has retired. The difficulties may arise because the successor may remove any trace of the former pastor and completely ignore the former pastor’s role or the former pastor may continue to become involved in the church’s business. But our church did not experience any difficulties because of God’s grace and the consideration for us by our former pastor. Now we need to go beyond just being satisfied with not having any difficulties through the transition but for us to be considerate to the seniors of our faith including our former pastor, in order for them to play a role in the church as our seniors. I anticipate our church becoming a wonderful and beautiful church where the younger generation of believers follows the examples of our seniors, with respect and recognition for each other.
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