Korean churches are getting old. It’s not unusual for Korean churches to have 70% of their members be 60 years or older. Young people are not coming to church.
House churches attract young people because their emphasis on relationships and servant leadership appeals to them. Still, even many house churches are getting old, because they maintain division by age.
For example, many churches keep college groups after they implement the house church. College students have separate worship services, listen to sermons by college group pastors, and have their own programs. They don’t feel like their churches’ senior pastors are their own pastors or that their churches are their own church. When they graduate, they either move to churches whose members are predominantly college students or stop attending church altogether. Without an influx of young people, house churches are getting old.
Seoul Baptist has a good balance between young and old members, because we avoid dividing by age and treat everyone like adults after they graduate from high school. We give people the freedom to choose whatever house church they want to be a part of. Some young members choose house churches with married couples, but the vast majority choose ones with other singles. We group house churches with singles together to form villages and allot them a budget to have joint activities with other singles’ house churches. To help them take the initiative in ministry, we have a Sunday worship service that is led by singles’ house church members. I preach in that service from the same sermon topics as with the other services. With this policy and with help from our dedicated shepherds, our singles ministry has thrived.
When singles get married, they are given a year-long transition period. During that year, they can choose to either become a shepherd and start a new singles’ house church with a few starting members or join a married couples’ house church. As a result of this policy, many young married couples become a part of our church, helping us keep a healthy balance age-wise.
Recently, many singles are joining married couples’ house churches. I encourage the shepherds of these house churches to send them to singles’ house churches because they may enjoy being cared for by older members so much that they don’t become true disciples and servants of Jesus. Help them become disciples and ultimately leaders by encouraging them to join singles’ house churches. If singles keep coming to your house church, please consider switching from a couples’ house church to a singles’ one so that your single members have the chance to work with other singles’ house church members and become leaders.
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