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When We Talk About “Church”

28 Mar

Recently, my church situation here in Korea has changed. Being the native English-speaker closest to the situation, I was asked to write a report about it, for anyone who may be curious. I’ll share it below. Hopefully it will also shine some light on the Korean church as a whole, as it stands today.

Before I do that, though, I want to preface it with a few thoughts that have been swimming around in my head lately. Living abroad teaches you things. For me, the biggest learning curve has been the realization – not just the knowledge, but the actual witnessing of the fact – that church is personal. How we “do” church is so intertwined with how we approach God. And that’s something that differs from one Christian to another. I always knew this, of course, but this is the year I’ve been forced to confront, and then make peace with that (an on-going struggle). My preferences for how to do music, prayer, any sort of learning/preaching; the number of people I most enjoy worshiping alongside; style of communion; focus on Jesus versus the Holy Spirit – all these things are incredibly personal to me and my preferences. As humans we really like to put labels on that, and as Christians we’ve argued tooth and nail about which is most holy in the sight of God. Well…that’s futile. I’m so past arguing what’s the “right” way to follow Christ. Everything I’ve just listed is peripheral. We’ve all fallen short of the glory of God – and we’ve all been bought back, too. As Christians, we need to recognize that that is all we need to have everything in common with the Mennonite, Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, Catholic, non-denominational, emergent, whatever Christian standing beside us. Let’s accept that those who don’t do it “our” way are still under God’s care. Let’s trust that He alone knows how to deal with those “doing it wrong”. And let’s pray for our brothers and sisters in the faith, no matter how they’re labelled. They are, after all, God’s people.

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Korean house churches a response to the ‘mega church problem’

March 20, 2013

On March 10, 2013, Jesus Village Church (JVC) of Chuncheon, South Korea, had a last “sending service” with all one hundred of its members. As of March 17, those individuals officially comprised two separate churches: JVC and a new, smaller house church called Jesus Heart (JHC). However, thinking of this as a church “split” in the traditional sense is misinforming. Continue reading

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