Every year around this time one important thing that I must do and a prayer request that I have is raising up cell leaders. There are existing cell leaders who finish their studies in the summer and return to Korea and there are always a group of new families who come in the fall so new cell leaders are always needed. Every year many new people come and many people leave, so naturally the leadership changes frequently as well. There were even times when one third of the young adult leadership changed.
This year, too, just like always, I am praying about raising up new cell leaders. This year, more than others, we need to raise up many cell leaders. First, with regard to family cells, out of 10 cells we need 4 new leaders and with regard to young adult cells although most are employed and there won’t be any big changes, we are expecting more new faces as the pandemic comes to an end, so we need more cell leaders. Additionally, although we currently have one English cell, we are thinking of extending that to two cells.
Through experiencing the pandemic, the biggest thing that I felt was that the our church’s vitality exists withing our small group meetings. When there were a lot of coronavirus cases many churches livestreamed their church services on YouTube or worshiped through KakaoTalk or Band, another social media service. If they had the ability, many churches worked hard to create online content so that the church remained close in the congregants’ minds and hearts. But many churches neglected small group meetings. All believers can feel a sense of belonging to their church through small group meetings, the reason for which is the simple belief in Jesus Christ. But if the church just focuses on the online worship service and puts off small group meetings until the church can meet again in person, in the mean time the congregants shift to worshipping with megachurches who offer broadcast company-quality online services. If even megachurches don’t have small group meetings, congregants seek their own comfort and worship online while their minds and bodies start to conform to the world.
During the pandemic I felt down to my bones that small group meetings are what make churches churches. Our church, unlike other Korean churches, doesn’t have a building so we have thought from the beginning that relationships are important, and when we could only meet online not only did we have online worship services but we also had small group meetings online, too. Thanks to that, even though it was difficult for church members to worship alone in their rooms they were able to look back at their relationship with God and through the online small group meeting where even though it was awkward that one must wait until the other person has stopped talking before interjecting one own’s thoughts we were able to listen to each other and learn how to converse. Through these cell meetings the church has grown stronger and we have the hardware to take advantage of the benefits of both on- and offline services.
Even though our church is a church where many come and go and we always need people to help, we have never raised a leader without having communication and a relationship with them. Neither have we raised up a leader who was not ready, no matter how in need we may have been. When someone who, after serving for a while, has decided to step down for personal reasons, we have respected their decision and God has always moved someone to take their place. In this way, having served God’s Vision Church for the past 14 years, I have experienced Jesus raising up and leading the church. The Lord will do the same this time. We are doing the given work of the one who calls and raises us up.