“the average member has to wait at least one hour in a long line just to get a place to sit down in one of our seven services.”

Common church growth wisdom is based on a prioritization of the proclamation system over a discipleship system approach.[1] The priority in proclamation system evangelism is inviting non-Christians to worship. Everything must be subordinated to the comfort and convenience of the seeker so that non-Christians will desire to spend sufficient time in institutional worship services to become converted. This becomes impossible in a church the size of Yoido, where “the average member has to wait at least one hour in a long line just to get a place to sit down in one of our seven services.”[2]


It is impossible to accommodate 700,000 Christians in what is considered ideal in the west: a single worship service leaving more than 40% of the seating area unoccupied so that seekers are not crowded or uncomfortable.[3] The logistics are impossible and as a goal, irrelevant; growth continues despite these negative conditions in worship, proving that common American convictions about worship services and church growth are rendered irrelevant in this ministry context by Yoido’s powerful discipleship system. Every week more persons participate in cell than worship, while worship participation dominates participation in the United States.

QUOTE [1]

NOTE


DISCERNMENT QUESTIONS

RESOURCES

[1] The quote is a selection from David O. Kueker’s Fuller Seminary Doctor of Ministry project submitted in September, 2007, entitled Diagnosis, Dialogue, and Decision: A Threefold Process of Revitalization For the Illinois Great Rivers Conference.
It is shared here in recognition of its 12th Anniversary along with comments to update and provide perspective on the material. The original project was a Training Manual/Study Guide of three Seminars supported by three chapters of research and an Introduction. The material is available for download at www.disciplewalk.com/Resources.html. In 2009 it was provided for purchase as a softcover book entitled Designing Discipleship Systems: Christian Disciple Making For Any Size Church, Any Theology through CreateSpace.com.

[2][3] [4][5] [6][7] [8]

All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Please review the page How and Why We Use Quotes.



[1]Church growth principles for a proclamation system based evangelistic approach are well stated by William Easum, The Church Growth Handbook (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1990), 43-54. These principles remain valid; Easum correctly indicates that improving worship brings immediate, positive results. Contemporary conditions, however, require an effective discipleship system cooperating with God in prevenient and sanctifying grace to bring in the people to worship. Both are necessary, but throughout history it is the discipleship system which has been neglected.

[2]Paul Yongii Cho with R. Whitney Manzano, More Than Numbers (Waco, TX: Word Books, 1984), 50. The facilities have since been expanded.

[3]For a western visitor’s less than enthusiastic experience of Yoido worship, see Harpocrates

[pseud.]

, 254: Yoido Full Gospel Church, Yoido, Seoul, South Korea; http://www.ship-of-fools.com/ Mystery/2000/254Mystery.html (accessed June 18, 2007).

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