Every year, many of our church members relocate. Over the past 5 years, an average of 110 people leave our church each year, with 73 of them returning to Korea and 37 moving to other areas in the U.S. It’s estimated that less than half of those who returned to Korea are currently church members, and only a very small number attend house churches.
We baptize an average of 3 people every week thanks to the sacrificial ministry of our shepherds and their spouses. Despite the high number of baptisms, our adult Sunday worship attendance has remained at around 1,000 for the past few years because most of the people who are saved through our church relocate. Since we don’t accept as members people who have been members of local churches in the Houston area, most of those who have been baptized are temporary residents of Houston, who stay for a time but leave after a few months, up to 3 years at most.
The purpose of church is to reach non-believers and make them disciples of Jesus. So a shepherd’s job is not over after helping nonbelievers accept Jesus and get baptized. Shepherds must continue to help them become disciples of Jesus; if that doesn’t happen in Houston, they should help them become disciples at another church.
This is why we’re starting a ministry to help our members join other churches when they go back to Korea or move to other areas in the U.S. Deacon Roh will be in charge of this ministry. He is well-qualified to help people returning to Korea because he spends 6 months each year in the U.S. and the other 6 months in Korea. Deacon Koo, who recently moved to Korea, will help people returning to Korea and Deacon Seong will help people who are relocating in the U.S.
This ministry team will meet with families who are scheduled to relocate 3 times: 2 times after a second worship service on Sundays and once on a Saturday at our church. On the Saturday meeting, the ministry team will throw a party for relocating members, with testimonies, encouragement, and challenges. The ministry team will find house churches in regions to where relocating members are moving and connect people to them.
This benefit can be enjoyed by all our church members, even those who have not yet received Christ. Let me ask that shepherds apply for this orientation class on behalf of their moving members as soon as their departure dates are set. The earlier, the better, because as their departure approaches, peoples’ schedules become tight due to various farewell parties and goodbyes. Shepherds should make this request at least 4 weeks before they are scheduled to leave.
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