[Series III] The Growth of the Yoido Full Gospel Church

The Growth of the Yoido Full Gospel Church:
Its History, Factors, and Future Tasks

Written By HONG, Young-Gi (Ph.D.)
The Senior Pastor of the Full Gospel Church of Honolulu, Hawaii, USA.

 

C. The Growth Factors of the Church

1. Dr. Cho’s Message

According to one survey, it was found that Cho’s message was the primary reason many people came to the YFGC. The framework of Cho’s sermons is the fivefold gospel and threefold blessing (see <appendix>). Cho always emphasizes that only by the help of the Spirit will such message effectively reach people and change them to trust in Jesus Christ wholeheartedly. There are several characteristics in his sermon.

(1) One important characteristic of Cho’s message is the emphasis on the power of the Holy Spirit. But his Holy Spirit movement is based on the word of God and a movement to proclaim the cross, resurrection, and lordship of Jesus. This means that any Christian who is filled with the Holy Spirit must witness about Jesus and show Christ-like character in his/her life.

(2) Another characteristic of Cho’s sermon is his emphasis on the affirmative (positive) thinking. This positive thinking should be distinguished from the psychological positive thinking originated from the U.S. Cho’s positive message is based on the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This positive preaching makes hearers positive about life with the conviction that God will ultimately make all things work together for good. Positive preaching is also life-related. Cho once said, “people are always coming to church in great need, but if the preacher is only talking about theology, history, and politics, the people are not going to be helped in their present lives where they need the message.” YFGC preaches God of earth as well as God of heaven.

(3) The final characteristic of Cho’s preaching lies in vision and dream based on this positive thinking. Cho believes that the starting point of church growth is the positive pastoral vision. According to Cho, vision is the language of the Holy Spirit.

I have found, having lived with Cho that he always feels a great deal of burden whenever he preaches. So he always pray hard so that the Holy Spirit would help him.

 

2. Prayer

The second factor is prayer. Cho never hesitates to point out prayer as a key elememt in the growth of YFGC. Cho himself is a man of prayer. He once said that he learned that he himself should pray before telling people to pray and in order to grow the church. Once you visit my church, you will soon find that a number of members earnestly pray in the service, at the prayer retreat center, and also personally. The prayer ministry of YFGC is very diverse. It encourages individual prayer, corporate prayer, and small group prayer. The members of the YFGC are encouraged to pray an hour a day. YFGC has many kinds of prayer meeting, such as all night prayer meeting, dawn prayer meeting, fasting prayer meeting at the Prayer Retreat Center. Prayer is the key to unlocking God’s prevailing power in our lives as well as in the lives of YFGC. Without prayer, we cannot participate in the work of God as His servants.

 

3. Divine Healing

I would say that healing is also an integral part of the development of YFGC. Cho’s emphasis on the power of the Holy Spirit has brought miracles and signs and the healing of people with diverse diseases, contributing to the rapid growth of the church. I may ascribe the continuous manifestation of the divine healing in the church to God’s own experience of healing from the terminal stage of tuberculosis and his faith in the gospel of healing. Cho believes that divine healing is the will of God, one of the prime ministries of Jesus. Some advocates of divine healing misused the healing ministry but Cho presented salvation as whole and entire-salvation through the healing of the spirit and body and the person’s circumstances. He retained a balanced theology in his teaching on the divine healing. We can hear many members’ testimonies of healing in the church newsletters and service, and this has strengthened our members’ sense of belonging and has made the theology of my church alive.

 

4. The Cell System

The fourth factor I want to point out is the home cell system. Meeting in houses was one of the foundations of the growth of the early church. John Wesley also developed the house church movement and this made a great contribution to the development of the Methodist Church. The design of YFGC parish structure stresses that the "fundamental building block" of the church should be small, lay-lead, home-based, homogeneous groups. Thus YFGC could retain the power and intimacy of the small group by dividing into small units. Members of home-cell groups have Bible studies, concerted prayer, and witnessing to their unbelieving neighbors.

When a cell group unit grows to have ten families, it is divided into two units, about five families for each. The assistant leader of the original cell unit becomes the leader of the new one. This procedure is repeated as the size of the cell grows. Home cell groups in YFGC have been used as important outreach vehicle in YFGC. The mission and message of YFGC has been carried out by the strong participation of lay leaders like home cell group leaders. They are trained about the doctrines and missions of YFGC in the Laymen Bible School and in bi-annual Home Cell Leader's seminars. This system is a driving force of the unity of the church members and of the church growth, following the example of the early church.

 

To be Continued…

3 Comments

  1. thanks!

  2. I really enjoy reading the articles on this blog. I’ll bookmark this so I can read more later

  3. Oh, thanks, too. May the Holy Spirit rekindle the fire
    of prayer in the churches you are serving so that your
    churches may grow more^^

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