Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Church Growth In Africa Compared To South Korea

The spreading of the gospel in Africa came at the same time with colonialism and slave trade, hence African people received the gospel with mixed feeling. Many African people believed that the bible is the work of a white man and Christianity a religion of the white people. In the African context religion was based on ancestral worship, familiar spirits, spiritism and occultism, and these became greatest hindrances to gospel penetration in Africa. To isolate themselves from what they thought was a white man's religion they went about and tried to establish their own African rooted traditional churches which promoted Africanism rather than godliness, of course some of these religions and ancestral worships were there way long before the Christian proclamation in Africa.

In this article, am going to present to you distinguishing factors, characteristics, theologies and practices which I believe led to the Revival and Growth of South- Korean churches. We know that South -Korea has the largest church population in our times and that probably the largest church being in Seoul. Korea is now divided into two separate countries namely North and South Korea. North Korea is a communist state and does not strongly believe in Christianity although we have Christian in that place it still needs to be evangelised effectively. Communism is a great enemy of Christian proclamation just like Islam, through communism and Islam many Christians are persecuted and missionaries martyred especially in Japan, North Korea. Philippines, Nigeria, etc. On the other hand South Korea is a faith based country with a large church population and now one of the leading missionary sending countries in the world. One would like to know how two sister nation differ in terms of approach towards spiritual issues of faith. Comparing two nation's economies you will be shocked that it's possible that South Korea is more resourced than North Korea why? Its because when Revival broke forth in South Korea in 1902 it brought about a revolution in the economy of the country. How did this happen? They are causes which we may look closely at which I believe led to the Revival and growth of South Korean churches. Every Korean wishes that 1902 would happen again because its what brought about the challenges and positive things which are now the fruit of that Revival. I tried by all means to research and talk to Korean pastors to hear from their mouth what actually caused the Revival and growth of Korean Churches. Since the Revival in 1902 God has used South Korean missionaries across many parts of the world who are sent into the mission field. Allow me to put down the features and characteristics which I believe led to the Revival of Korean churches comparing to African ministries.


South -Korea is well known for a great number of Prayer Mountains. In this country lays the secret of a praying nation which has become their main characteristic and strong weapon for transforming the nation. South Korea has a lot of Prayer Mountains where people go to pray and seek the face of God. At these prayer mountains the sacrifice of prayer is offered at any time of the day. From a distance you can hear loud voices and cries from these mountains as people pray to God According to many Korean missionaries I have spoken to about Korea especially Pastor Samuel Hong Lee a Korean missionary in south Africa, the Korean stability in politics and economical preservations are a result of the prayers offered country wide. Specific prayers are offered for the president, business men and also Korean missionaries in the field world wide. What has made the Korean church differ from the African churches is the mission of the church.


When asked, many ministers will ascribe prayer and committed giving as the cause for the revival. For years, Korean ministers have simply given the Korean church the word of God and the Holy Spirit has done the job". This is true because many Korean Christians are more biblical in their faith, theology, prayers and practice. I don't deny the fact that they have their own weakness but church growth is not one of their weakness or problems but African ministries this is a great concern.
All they do is They teach, they pray and God works its that simple.

In order for any mission minded church to succeed in missions, we need to establish a clear mission theology, further I would like to mentions that evangelism and social responsibility must be harmonized, a separation of the two must be regarded as a compromise to the apostolic theology and mission strategy. if we neglect such stewardship, we cannot produce any historical work and fruit of the Holy Spirit from every labours in the mission field. Below I introduce to you features and characters which describes the Korean church and the characteristics of the African churches. we must also that the Korean church has its own weakness and problems but church growth is not one of their problems. below are few weakness which I have identified in the Korean church and Korean missionaries.

Some have noted out that the growth of Korean churches is as a result of conformity rather than repentance and personal faith in God. This is because Christian faith which does not help us change our character and behaviour is not legitimate Christianity.
Some Korean missionaries have failed in the mission field due to their reluctance to learn local languages especially African languages and adapting to local or indigenous cultures. The exploitative attitudes of some Korean missionaries
Dishonest practices

Personal entitlement to property rather than missionary service


1. South Korean churches received the bible as the word of God and sought to believe and understand it by faith rather than logically. This led to the birthing of bible studies groups and prayer meeting in homes and early morning prayers.


2. African people received the bible with mixed feeling they believed it to be a Whiteman's book which was used to oppress a Blackman and led to slavery and colonialism, So African traditional churches would rather believe in ancestral worship and spirits rather than the biblical teachings. In African culture traditional churches there is less proclamation using the bible and that has led to a gross ignorance to Gods word, hence people perish for lack of knowing God. Their is more population in traditional and
religious churches than in true bible believing churches.


3. South -Korean churches became consistent in Revival meeting were mass proclamations were done emphasising what the scripture says. Church doors in Korean churches are kept open every day for prayers early in the morning and any other time of the day for prayers and supplications with groaning. These are petitions and cries to God. This remind me a great evangelist and teachers of the word who once said.


4. African churches attend prayer meetings and revivals periodically particularly on Sunday only. weekly prayer meetings and bible study groups are poorly attended by the Christians. Church doors are closed during the week and are open only on Sundays, hence a sense of disciple and mentoring is lacking. Discipleship is the key to developing effective and constructive church members and leaders.


5. South Korean Christians have faith that anticipate the coming of Jesus Christ


6. African churches are rather concerned about their burial after they die than their eternity and they fear death and respect their traditions or cultures than fear God.


7. South Korean Christians are dedicated to attending early morning prayers leading them to personal revival and blessing. If you asked them why they attended early morning prayers their answer will be "Jesus prayed early in the morning so I also pray in the morning.


8. South Korean Christians are dedicated givers in term of tithe, offerings, special offerings and sacrificial giving and this has led to the resourced Korean church ministry which has helped the local churches to send and support their missionaries and local ministers.


9. African churches for decades have not learnt the principle of giving whole heartedly making the church to be poor and financially disadvantaged hence the foresight for missions and targeted evangelism has been narrowed. The African church is poor because they are not open to the spirit of giving and tithing


10. South Korean Christians have active faith that gets involved practically in the work of God. The spirit of volunteerism grips their hearts to serve God with all their hearts.


11. African Christians all their efforts and hard work is done in favour of the pastor
not as an obligation of service to God. Lack of volunteerism has hindered the progress of the African ministries and churches. if only people can get involved in the work of God without wrong motives as ministry helper missionary workers not as ministers. Today we are faced with a challenged that people come to church for position and as long as you have some kind of public speaking skills you can easily become a pastor in the African churches. Come to church putting on a nice suit you qualify to be minister. A lack of better procedure of entrance into ministry through credible means of legitimate ordination has led to the confusion of the African ministry style. This is a catastrophe to ministry, revival and church growth.


12. South Korean Christians were/are willing to risk their lives for the sake of the gospel with a devotion to the spirit of martyrdom. Their faith is rooted in a deeper relationship with God. A relationship with God is valued than human relationships.


13. African churches are not yet open to biblical truth especially those in mainline religious traditional churches. They are more churches in Africa which are labelled as Christian churches but only a few are biblically sound hence a large number of so called Christians are not exposed to the truth. Bible centred preaching and messages are required to appeal to the masses, even when some other African churches claim to be Christian their practices and doctrinal beliefs have totally revealed that they are cults or occultic (dead religions). Our ministry strategy must be designed to meet the needs of the people and to minister to the whole man and provide life coaching. an open approach to address social, economical, spiritual, intellectual and emotional aspects of life is a vital key to effective ministry African churches need this. A correct application of talent, knowledge and wisdom will bring a substantial impact and contribution to the church in Africa. The church in Africa has taken a long time to arise from the slumber and have allowed ignorance and laziness in the name of spirituality. Many Pentecostal and other Christian people in Africa think that fate is a sign o godliness and that riches, education, progress, business is the devil and that we need to isolate ourselves. this mean they thought or think if you rich you are a sinner. So they are not involved socially, economically and politically in the affairs of this world.


14. South Korean Christians and African Christians both need openness to the manifestations and activities of the Holy Ghost and openness to the truth of God's word against false teachings and false doctrines. Embracing the gifts of the Spirit and allowing ourselves to function in the gifts which God has given the church. A full acceptance biblical teaching and the doctrine of the Holy Ghost is the missing element in bringing revival in the church.


15. South Korean churches and African Christians both needs consistency in prayer and fasting focused on evangelism, ministry and missions. Christians need to plant a seed for Revival. Consistent prayer saturates and sanctifies polluted places.


16. African Christian churches need massive Revival meetings and proclamation
meetings focused on prayer, relationship building and worship as our daily duty to God. Our lives must be God influenced and centred on true worship and Praise. As African churches we need to improve our worship styles and shortening our long sermons. Revival will only come if we become worship centred.

17. African Christian churches needs a strong leadership of the pastor and members submission to the clergy and offer full support to their ministers. Respect for the clergy (Men of God) pastoral leadership is needed. Lack of submission to God ordained leadership has costed African ministries set backs in church growth. It has led to splits and break aways leaving congregations wounded, frustrated and destroyed. This has left the presiding pastors operate in the spirit of bitterness, unforgiveness and anger. Lack of submission destroys the morale of the pastor leading him to ineffectiveness in the ministry. Splits and breakaways will always weaken African ministries and ministers. Its one of the reasons why many African ministries were started out of conflict, misunderstanding and lack of submission to Godly authority that is a wrong foundation. This is a cancer which is killing the church in Africa. Many ministries if you could check the motives of their starting ministry you will agree with me that many have a wrong foundation hence they cannot be established have a good ending.
There are things which I would like to discus in relating to what make African churches weak more especially independent Pentecostal and charismatic Christians. I don't doubt the potential African ministries have in terms of evangelism but only eight things which I will note down will make you realize what makes us weak.
Issues of doctrine are matters of concern; many independent ministries do not have a sense of central doctrinal teaching or liturgy which they can instil in the lives of their churches members. The misunderstanding of the Pentecostal and charismatic doctrines has led to the development of an inconsistent teaching methodology and wrong interpretation of doctrine and other biblical passages which does not lead to true discipleship, Hence member grow up with a mixed up interpretation of a sound Christian doctrines. The different opinions of interpretations on certain biblical teachings has led to different understandings and school of thoughts which end up confuse and divide us hence people break away to start their own movements and that makes independent churches and ministries even more weak. If correctly understood these doctrines will make Pentecostal and charismatic independent churches strong. We have reduced ministry to the pulpit only and our teachings and messages are not consistent on the pulpit, each service has its own direction in the name of as the spirit leads and that is why we have a lot of heresy, dissentions and dissentions and that is why our churches cannot grow because they are doctrinary weak.
1 Timothy1 vs7 Desiring to be teachers of the law understanding neither what they say or affirm KJV
Discipleship programs aimed at producing mature Christian is not provided because the same people who want to be teachers of the word must first be taught the elementary doctrine of the Christian faith.

3. BREAK AWAYS. Breakaways are the major problems of independent African ministries and most of these break always are caused by lack of submission and lack of spiritual parenting skills from the senior pastors who mistreat their associates and abuse and use them to fulfil their own secret agendas by suppressing others and usurping authority and dominion over others. A correct teaching in regards to the ministry of helps and other New Testament ministry functions will help us resolve the conflicts in our churches. An organized biblical leadership structure comprised of the Elders, deacons, deaconess and presbytery must be restored in order to control the influx of every one becoming a minister or a pastor of a church. It is true that the population in our Pentecostal
independent ministries is small but from the same small population which we have some pull out and establish another independent ministry which makes the old church and new churches rivals instead of allies or co-workers and this makes us both weak. Strength and resources, vision and purpose is lost a long the way because of this and it will always take time for the church which has been through a breakaway or a split to heal. Restoration of church order is essential to the strengthening and the growth of African independent churches especially black churches. If any one think or hears a call of God I advise you to follow the biblical order of doing things, God is not the author of confusion.


Seditions and dissentions Conflict in the independent church weakens the church, These conflict are caused by lack of submission to ordained Godly leadership and authority. The Apostolic Anointing is lacking in many independent ministries and churches. Many African ministries are so independent that they can not be accountable to anyone hence there is a problem to make church members submit to their leadership because the foundation is wrong. Biblical order is required for us to fix the problems which our ministries are facing. Don't expect anyone to submit to your leadership if you do not submit or have never submitted before.


Church order is not available in many independent charismatic and Pentecostals, biblical order and liturgy is not observed at all. we need to teach our generation proper order of worship and respect for the clergy. Every one does what he
think and claims the lord told him to do their no any check and balance in what we do.

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