Worldwide Cell Churches

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Yoido Full Gospel Church (2005)

September 2005

As I look out my hotel window at Yoido Full Gospel Church, my heart is filled with joy for what this church means to me (I’ve been teaching a Regent University doctoral course on cell ministry here in Korea). Last Sunday I attended Yoido Full Gospel Church and heard David Cho preach an excellent message. On Tues. and Wed. mornings I saw approx. 4,000 prayer warriors seeking Jesus in the main sanctuary at 5:30 a.m. (these saints gather every morning). God has truly blessed this church by making it the largest church in the history of Christianity (image of YFGC taken from my hotel window).

Granted, not everyone agrees with certain aspects of Cho’s theology (including myself) and Cho’s cell church strategy has fallen behind in the area of integration. Yet the cell church worldwide owes a salute of gratitude to this great church for at least three key reasons:

First, The modern day cell church movement was born at Yoido Full Gospel Church. It started in the summer of 1964 when Yonggi Cho, then 27 years old, reached a point of utter physical exhaustion as senior pastor. As Cho lay bedridden, God showed him through Scripture how the early church ministered from house to house. Cho also noticed how Moses in Exodus 18:13-26 divided the Israelites into small groups both to satisfy their needs and also to personally avoid burn-out. Cho acted on this God-given insight and now, 25,000 cells and 250,000 worshippers later, the worldwide cell church revolution is in high gear.

Second, Cho has always promoted quality groups that focused on weekly meetings outside the church building for the purpose of evangelism, community, and discipleship with the goal of multiplication. Cho’s book Successful Home Cell Groups (1982) gave pastors and leaders a new perspective on small group ministry. He taught how cells and celebration fit like a glove.

Third, Yoido Full Gospel Church organized the first cell system to care for leaders. On Wednesday as I toured the cell offices, I was impressed with the simple, yet effective, design of the district offices that enable upper level leaders to care for cell leaders and members (image of zone pastor calling members in one cell office). Worldwide cell churches have utilized a similar coaching structure to care for their leaders.

We need to praise God that cell churches worldwide have received inspiration and valuable principles from David Yonggi Cho and Yoido Full Gospel Church!