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April 29, 2009

Biggest Church on Earth


People rush in to Yoido Full Gospel Church, in Seoul, South Korea. YFGC says it is the biggest congregation on Earth. It has 527 pastors. In 2007, they reported more than 830,000 members. Seating is limited, even with seven Sunday services. Photo by Ray Chiang, all rights reserved.


This is an amazing congregation. I had the honor of traveling with my concert choir (Western Baptist College, now Corban College in Salem, OR) in South Korea in 1997. We had the privilege of singing at one of Yoido Full Gospel Church's mid-week prayer services. There were well over 10,000 people in attendance. It was a truly awesome experience to worship God with them!

Wow that's 1575 people per paid pastor... how do they cope? What is a fair ratio of sheep per full-time shepherd in a church this size, or any size? Jesus had many followers but he walked intimately with 12 and lost 1. If every member Tithed (10%) you could theoretically get a ratio of 1 pastor per 12 people meeting from house to house. And if each group is accountable to a larger body of elders, and perhaps met corporately occasionally in a sports facility, then that would be more impressive to me. Just a thought: When it comes to Rediscovering True Discipleship Is Small the New Big?!

It is awesome. Praise the Lord. May the Lord bless all churches in the world over to have such an amazing congregation of faithfulls. Seeing it Satan and his army will fly away in fright.

May God add all people of South Korea to this church and that nation will be a symbol of His peace and happiness, for His Glory. Amen.

That is great, except the ratio is 1000+ person per pastor. It could easily get superficial there, with people blending into the crowd and attending service like at a sports event, but with not enough emphasis on personal growth with God, and people taking the lowest-common-denominator trend/standard of behavior in the huge crowd as the standard of Christian life, rather than the New Testament.
A very large church also tend to make people focus on numbers increase rather than building quality of each person. In the first part of Matthew 13, all those are people who received the Word and started believing Jesus and, except the first type, most would be regular church attendees.
Also, a very large church also tends to stay in one spot and not send missionaries elsewhere, partly as a result of sinking into competition in numbers, partly as a result of, when the church is so large that it becomes a mini-town then you start thinking that's the whole planet and your aspirations become limited to the the horizons avaible within the mini-town, and you forget that there are gigantic places outside where people are needed.

Seriously, whenever there is a huge congregation of several thousands meeting in one spot, something is not being done about salting the rest of the society and the rest of the world. You do realize that there are billions of people who have not heard the Gospel, and with that many Christians, each is commanded by Jesus to go to the end of the world and tell about him. So whenever there is a huge congregation and the routines in it are "Christian life", usually something is forgotten about the purpose of having church.
Let's see...Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia with 2000 or 5000 islands, Papua New Guinea, Burma, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, the Philippines, Bhutan, Brunei, Nepal, Maldives. There are also Korean populations in Far-Eastern Russia, plus the Central Asian countries, all of which are in dire need of the Gospel. Russia had 1000 years of imperial "Christianity" in an imitation of the Roman Empire's Caesar(Czar) cult, and many people do not know Jesus.
There are also all the islands of the Pacific. Polynesia, Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Fiji, Tonga, Palau, Samoa, etc.

So large churches are not something to be envied. It also encourages the displacement of holiness from God and Christian virtue unto the church building, encouraging a dichotomy of church-building is holy, but when outside of the church, do the daily life of the world. House churches without church buildings are better and very hard to corrupt, there is also the obviousness that Christian life is everyday life, not just one day, or not just in a specific setting or location.

A 100-person church meeting on every street block, in every city and every village, that is something. And it's also something that doesn't have much visible to show off.

Yoido Full Gospel church basically wrote the 20th-century book on cell groups. That's the heart and soul of its ministry and organization. The idea is that you have one large meeting on Sunday and a host of cell groups that are, in effect, house churches through the week. For them, it seems to strike a nice balance and to work well.

Shocking how little discernment there is in evangelicalism. So you all approve of this guru and his megamega church because....why? Because he uses the name "Christian"? Because it is a "church"? Geez, do you research. This is a Pentecostal cult that has spawned the G12 cult from Columbia.

Sorry. The biggest Church is the Catholic Church with over 1 Billion members and 400000 priests. Peanuts.
Thanks for your blog.

This is both an encouragement and a challenge for us who are experiencing dwindling membership in our own churches.

Praise God.....i was so amazed.


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