You may have read the title of this article and assumed that I was referring to North Korea. I am sure church planting there would be next to impossible, but I was actually referring to South Korea, home to some of the world’s largest churches.
The Christian church in South Korea has changed dramatically over the past century. In the early 1900s, less than 1% of the population identified as Christian. Now over a quarter of the population is Christian. This is largely due to a combination of missionary work and the efforts of the local church. Christianity is so popular in South Korea that Seoul is home to over a dozen megachurches, including Yoido Full Gospel Church which claims a congregation of over 800,000.
You might think it is easy to start a new church in this context. But it is actually very difficult to start a new church in South Korea. When megachurches can provide programming for every subgroup and meet in state-of-the-art buildings, a small church plant seems to have nothing to offer. On my recent trip there, our translator and guide referred to church planting in Seoul as suicide.
That is exactly why my visit to a THE SaRang City Community Church was so exciting. Planted by SaRang Church, this community of believers is engaging both the young and old. When I asked churchgoers there why they chose this small church over a larger church, the overwhelming response was that they feel seen, known, and loved by God and by the community around them.