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.
THE MISSION AND CHARACTERISTICS OF KOREAN CHURCHES
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.
WHAT MAKES KOREAN CHURCH GROW
COMPARED TO AFRICAN CHURCHES
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
Personal entitlement to property rather than missionary service
EXAMINATION OF THE KOREAN CHURCH AND THE
SOUTH KOREAN CHURCH
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.
SOUTH KOREAN CHURCH
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.
SOUTH KOREAN CHURCH
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.
SOUTH KOREAN CHURCH
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.
SOUTH KOREAN CHURCH
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
SOUTH KOREAN CHURCH
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.
SOUTH KOREAN CHURCH
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.
SOUTH KOREAN AND AFRICAN CHRISTIANS
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.
SOUTH KOREAN AND AFRICAN CHURCHES
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.
THINGS WHICH MAKE AFRICAN PENTECOSTAL AND
CHARISMATIC MINISTRIES WEAK
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. Let get a clear understanding from the early church, According to Ephesians 2vs20 the church then and the church now is established upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets and Jesus Christ being the head and the chief cornerstone. The Apostle emphasised that what ever every one did and taught must be consistent and subject to the teachings of the Apostles anything contrary was not the gospel. Many Christian think church order is religion, the truth is church is not religion but the right tool and foundation for church growth for our God is not the author of confusion but order. If we cannot respect order then we cannot respect authority in any capacity. We need to restore church order.
For ministry to be effective and spiritual gifts to be fruitful on needs a spiritual covering. A church without any pastoral or Apostolic foundation cannot and will never grow. Churches of this nature do not have respect for Men of God and the Anointing and will never appreciate the gift you have no matter how you try and will always be problematic. A Church without this foundation of the Apostle or the pastoral foundation has no Spiritual covering over it. This same applies in a church where their not a firm foundation of prayer expect confusion, divisions, gossip and a circus. Earlier on I noted that not many pastors have a spiritual covering hence they cannot provide one for their church member. A Spiritual covering is an umbrella or shelter through people are nurtured and guided into Christian maturity, in short it’s a parental covering which allows a father and a spiritual son to mingle. It’s by this that internalisation and impartation takes place. Spiritual mentoring and parenting is required for us to raise spiritual son and daughters, we need to develop a deeper relationship with our spiritual children.
Each spiritual father has a challenge to discover spiritual children in terms of spiritual gifts calling and ministry and empower them and establish them in their God given ministry, A spiritual father has prophetic power to decree and release the gift which God has put upon his flock. Spiritual fathers must provide object and practical lessons and teaching with hands blended on ministry. In as much as the
African churches do not have sons also we do not have good spiritual fathers all we have are oppressors, there is very poor relationship between the pastor as and their congregations. Our spiritual children must be our pride and not an intimidation. You can not help your spiritual children with anything if you have not yet discovered them. The breach of relation between the sheep and the shepherd makes Pentecostals weak. It takes time to build a lasting Spiritual covering its just like building a house for your children. I noted in this book that the dynamics of church growth are similar to that of a family.
It’s difficult to establish a church or a ministry without a spiritual covering. A spiritual covering is an incubator for a vision, calling and a ministry. Many people have the anointing but they do not have a spiritual covering, A spiritual covering provides you with a strong foundation for effective ministry. Watch the people who come from a right spiritual covering? I may as well say watch the people who come from a right family, check their ministries, their lives and their marriages. Many churches struggle because they don’t have a spiritual covering, The church can not grow without a spiritual covering.
The church can only grow under a fertile spiritual covering, we need to put a distinction between a spiritual covering and the anointing When you rebel from a specific spiritual covering you go without a blessing your spiritual father has a blessing for you. Our spiritual parenting skills are so poor, weak and compromised that we cannot teach and disciple our own congregations to maturity. Our spiritual parenting skills are seen in our ability to produce sons and daughters and not church members. Our aim should to raise mature Christians who in turn will become co-workers not just converts. Sons and daughters have the spirit of submission and good spiritual fathers have good parenting skills
AFRICAN CHURCHES ARE NOT CLUSTERED
I know some will contest this by saying we are called differently so there is no need of being clustered. Many African ministries and church are not clustered and this has resulted into a very serious isolation in the way we operate and handle spiritual matters. We may differ in proclamation methods, in faith, in liturgy, in practice of theology and interpretation but that should not divide us each should learn to respect other people’s interpretation. our purpose of reaching out for Christ mustn’t be compromised or reduce into just mare religious politics, we must accept that God works in diversity. In this context clustered I mean united OR ONE ACCCORD. Church forums and ministers fraternals have not played or done a good job in fulfilling this noble cause. we need to unite in practice and not in words only that will be the time the church will be powerful Psalm 133vs1-6 let us not allow religious politics to divide us and religious garbage to stand the way of our unity and God’s work. Personal agendas are not a good recipe for church growth and church health.
Early Pentecostals (not the early church) had similar problems they had serious differences in terms of interpretation of certain biblical passages and things. Because the desire to be on top they became victims of charismatic assassination as they label each other false prophets and accused and discredited each other using ungodly means instead of helping each other carry burdens they criticised and killed each other’s ministries and reputations.
Jealousy in the church and among the ministers is a deadly virus, many Christian are so jealousy of each other that they don’t wish anything good to happen to you except themselves. Many find it difficult to rejoice with others, for example if another minister and his church seem to be making progress they will call him names and throw stones at him that is jealousy. When you seem to have a bit of light and you have direction for your ministry and life you become a potential threat, enemy and
source of panic and intimidation in other believers. If you want to know who is praying, how many love you and how many are on your side just buy a car or get married or show some progress in your ministry or just tell every body your dream and vision or become active in the church you will see the reaction of the other saints. show some signs of potential change and focus you will be attacked. I want you to try this tell your pastor that you want to be serious with God by preaching. fasting and all kinds of ministry activity that will be the beginning of your persecution and exit from that church, you will be hated, rejected and hurt by the church folks and ministers “who do you think you are? You think you are smart and clever? We have always done it this way.
SOUTH KOREAN CHURCH
18. South Korean Christians submit themselves to the leadership of the pastor willingly without forcing them. They do it as a service to God. Regardless of age they respect and submit themselves to the clergy. The strong leadership of the pastor has led to the growth and strength of Korean churches. From the eyes of an African I submit this work and analysis I have confidence that you will find this work helpful and experience Gods great Revival in your church in terms of financial growth, spiritual growth, numerical growth and church growth. It could be dangerous for me to suggest that if you can do what Korean churches do your church will grow but failure also to observe certain features and learn from them and discover the better ways of reviving Africa dying churches. Revival is still possible as we see economies of Africa crumbling and ministries troubled we need to look to God for healing in our ravaged society in Africa.
For years I have taken a careful look and compared church growth in Africa with other continent s in this case I have chosen to compare the features of the African church and those of the Korean church which I have in the nutshell I discuss in this article.
Why many churches in Africa don’t grow, if taken seriously, the weaknesses as described in this article can help many african and korean ministers.
It was important for me to include in these things;
1. The foundation of Christian proclamation in Africa
2. Pentecostalism comes to Africa
3. Proclamation theories differing from each church affiliation and missionary establishments
4. An examination of charismatic doctrines compared to that of Pentecostals.
I had to carefully compare the African church to the Korean church why? Korea is reported to be the country which experiencing the fastest growth in Church population and one of the great missionary sending countries in the 21st century in every country you go you will find Korean missionaries, up to this present day missionary bodies are still alive and still sending missionaries. I have cross examined the two church though dynamics and theology may be different they are certain things which
African ministries have to learn, one of the reasons for the revival and growth of the Korean church is their sacrificial giving, faith which prays earnestly, Financial support and respect to the clergy (Pastors) and their model of prayer and fasting which they confirm that they do after the model of Jesus Christ. Since the revival of 1902, the church and the national economy has changed drastically, when asked many Korean Christians will tell you that all this has been as a result of prayer. If you look at the Japanese church and North Korean church and compare with the Korean church you will notice and find a big difference because by establishment Japanese and North Korea are communist and their philosophy is opposed to Christian the faith. They are reasons and characteristics to the revival and growing of the South Korean churches
1. Prayer Mountains and prayer homes or houses
2. Cell churches
3. Missionary work
4. Their mission as Korean churches
5. Their personal lives are characterized by prayer and fasting.
Though the South Korean church is not predominant charismatic or Pentecostal by tradition, they have practiced communal prayer for specific missions and reasons. For example they have specific days where they pray for the president, the economy, the mission field and their missionaries around the world. You will find reformed theology besides other theological disciplines. The Korean church have maintained up to now church order both for sending and accepting ministers, you have to go through further missionary, pastoral and ordination training besides theological qualification. This has reduced the risk of having unprofessional people taking on the things of God without counting the cost unlike in Africa. Glory To God