while the world’s largest churches are found in Seoul, Korea, they are far outnumbered by churches of fifty or less

This entry is part 92 of 118 in the series Diagnosis, Dialogue, Decision: A DMin Project

Cell churches occur in a sociological context that is far different from the Illinois Great Rivers Conference. Cells in third world countries flourish best among the impoverished, uneducated, unemployed, oppressed and powerless. Cells provide very effective tools for people to overcome these conditions, which are rarer but not unknown in the Illinois Great Rivers Conference.

            A rising tide does not float all boats; while the world’s largest churches are found in Seoul, Korea, they are far outnumbered by churches of fifty or less:

Seoul’s skyline after dark is filled with neon crosses, mounted on the tops of buildings where a church exists. There are literally hundreds of them! A Presbyterian pastor said to me, “Most of those crosses mark small churches with fewer than fifty members. They never seem to grow beyond that figure.” Those who seek to discount the amazing growth of the cell group churches in Korea must understand not all their churches are growing at the same rate.[1]

Small churches are the norm in Seoul, Korea, as elsewhere in the entire world. Yoido Church, like the New Testament church of Acts, has somehow overcome normal and natural systemic limits to church growth. Their disciple-making systems rapidly fill up organizational capacity with new converts to the highest possible size in a context where much smaller churches are culturally normative. Eventually these rapidly growing churches also reach their limits to growth; otherwise the mathematics indicate they would have converted the entire world to Christ long ago. The real issue in conversion growth lies not with improving methods of evangelism in the reinforcing process but with overcoming resistance in the balancing process.





[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]Ralph W. Neighbor, Jr., Where Do We Go From Here? A Guidebook for the Cell Group Church, 10th Anniversary ed. (Houston: Touch Publications, 1990), 41.

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