[Series I] The Fourth Dimension Spirituality and Church Growth

The Fourth Dimension Spirituality and Church Growth
– The Case Study of Rev. David Yonggi Cho –

A Lecture Presented at the International Church Growth Conference
(World Mission Briefing)

Organized by the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies and Institute for Church Growth

(ICG) of Korea in Oxford, 11th-12th November, 2004.

Written By HONG, Young Gi (Ph.D.)


  I have long researched the principles of church growth working in my institute for church growth for the last 12 years. I have visited a variety of churches and met many church leaders. I have felt that church growth is affected by given contexts (national, local, congregational, etc.) and the factors are very complex. However, though the factors of church growth are diverse, I have realized that two factors are most essential for church growth: spirituality and system and the balance between the two. Rev. David Yonggi Cho, the senior pastor of the largest church in the world, Yoido Full Gospel Church, visited the Institute for Church Growth (ICG) in March, 2004 and gave the staff a word of encouragement. In that address, he said as follows (Cho, 2004a): “I did not know before why my church has grown. I have just done my best in my ministry. But now I come to realize that spirituality and system are two critical ingredients of the growth of the church. Spirituality and system, both are important. One is not enough and the two should be balanced.”

  With this perspective in mind, when I reflect on the growth of many dynamic churches I saw, it seems that this explains well their growth factors. For example, such movements as cell church movement and Alpha Course focus on the spirituality of the Holy Spirit and well-prepared running system. Spirituality is like the bone and system is like the flesh and clothing. Without spirituality, system is the structure without life, and spirituality without system does not motivate people and does not last. Both are important, but spirituality is basically prior to system because it gives life to system. The focus of this paper is on the spirituality of the church leader and church growth. Through my experience, I have found that while many church leaders take much interest in the programs for church growth, they do not heed the importance of development of spirituality much.

  Rev. David Yonggi Cho understood the importance of spirituality and applied it to his church growth. He has propagated the spiritual principles of church growth and many church leaders have experienced the effectiveness of the principles.

  In this paper, I want to explore the fourth dimension spirituality proposed by Rev. David Yonggi Cho. Rev. Cho’s spirituality has rich implications for effective ministry and mission for world Christianity. It has become a verified model for church growth and mission today. This paper poses the following questions: What is the fourth dimension spirituality? What is the relationship between the fourth dimension spirituality of a leader and church growth? To what extent does the spirituality of a leader affect the growth of a church? What implications and tasks does the fourth dimension spirituality have for future church growth?


1. Understanding the Fourth Dimension Spirituality

For Rev. Cho, what is seen was not made out of what was visible (Heb 11:3). The third dimensional world we can see has not evolved by itself, but has been created by the fourth dimension. For Rev. Cho, spiritual world is the world of the fourth dimension (Cho, 1996a). In the study of geometry, a line is the first dimensional space, and a plane is the second dimensional space, and a cube is the third dimensional space. A line is controlled by the two dimensional space, a plane and the two dimensional space is controlled by the third dimensional space, a cube. Using this metaphor of geometry and its dimensions Rev. Cho argues that our material and physical world belong to the third dimensional space and the fourth dimension controls this world of the third dimensions which consists of time, space, and substance.

Rev. Cho takes the view that in the universe there are three forces at work: the Holy Sprit of God, the sprit of Satan and the human sprit of man.  He takes the view that miracles and healings can take place by religious leaders in other religions, but their power is still limited and come under the power and the authority of Almighty God. Only the power of the Holy Spirit can give order, power, beauty, and creative change to our third dimensional world. We need to understand the spiritual principles of how the fourth dimension controls the third dimension. Rev. Cho (2003) says that he discovered the fourth dimensional truth in deep prayer through the revelation of the Holy Spirit. He confesses that his ministry has been revolutionized since he discovered the truth of the fourth dimension (Cho, 1996a: 51). According to Rev. Cho, there are four channels that enable the fourth dimension to change the third dimensional world, which may be called “the fourth dimensional spirituality” (Cho, 2003).


To be Continued…


  1. I’m going to use this post as motivation for my next blog post.

  2. What is your blog post? God bless your ministry^^

  3. This is a good post, Thanks for sharing, I’ll be sure to return regularly.

  4. Return and Read for your Leadership Insight. Thanks^^

  5. This is my first time i visit here. I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the enjoyment here keep up the good work.

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