Multiplication Center

Korean and American Churches Are Similar, But Maybe on Different Timetables

January 1, 1970

[vc_row type=”in_container” full_screen_row_position=”middle” scene_position=”center” text_color=”dark” text_align=”left” overlay_strength=”0.3″][vc_column column_padding=”no-extra-padding” column_padding_position=”all” background_color_opacity=”1″ background_hover_color_opacity=”1″ column_shadow=”none” width=”1/1″ tablet_text_alignment=”default” phone_text_alignment=”default” column_border_width=”none” column_border_style=”solid”][vc_column_text]I just returned from a week with Korean megachurches. I met the pastor of a church with 40,000 attendance (see lunch photo) that last week bought two acres with plans to construct a 7,000 seat sanctuary on it!  Another church, the country’s first megachurch, currently with 30,000 attendance, has a 5-story parking garage under one of its buildings (see photo of the pastor and me outside his gorgeous facility).  Yet another church, currently growing through about 9,000 in attendance, has a second facility about two blocks away and wants to learn more about how multi-site works in the U.S. I also met with pastors of “smaller” megachurches as well.

Korean churches are way ahead of us in so many ways: prayer, zeal, sacrifice, and more. We have learned so much from them and will continue to do so.

They’re interested in developments of U.S. megachurches because their society seems to be following ours, and practices that used to work for them are not working as well today.  For better or worse, the consumerism that characterizes American society, including American churches, is also showing up in Korean churches. The churches I visited are typically great at drawing believers into attendance at many meetings each week — for prayer, worship, and instruction — but general Korean culture is becoming more individualistic as we have become, so they’re just beginning to explore the idea of lay empowerment for ministry in individualized, tailored ways. They responded well to the idea I borrowed from Robert Lewis of pastors adopting the Home Depot slogan: “You can do it, and we can help.” (Now all they need is an actual Home Depot store there in Korea!)

My talk on multi-site actually made front page of a local newspaper, illustrating the level of curiosity about multi-site. No one had time to read it to me so for all I know it says, “American speaker explains all the stupid things he’s done here in Korea”!

On a more humorous level, Korea is considerably ahead of us technologically. I was so clueless about their electronic toilets that instead of flushing I created more of an unexpected spray and wash event (see photo of control panel). Another example: they give speeding tickets mostly by mail when cameras catch your speed and also identify your license plates. But Koreans are resourceful, so the in-car GPS software detects where those cameras are and warns you each time to slow down as you approach it! Woe to those who don’t have an automobile “Garmin” equivalent.

To learn more, please see my global list of the world’s largest churches at www.leadnet.org/world.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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