I got a chance to have lunch with Pastor Yong Jo Ha. Pastor Ha founded Onnuri Community Church 22 years ago and has seen it grow from a handful of people to almost 60,000 people every weekend at 8 sites. In addition, under Pastor Ha’s vision they have launched 32 churches all around the world. They also run a global TV Network (CGN-TV) and run the largest Christian publisher in Korea. If that wasn’t enough they are now doing international crusades and recently had 23,000 people attend a crusade in Japan – which is remarkable.
I was hoping that I would get some time with him, so I had a list of questions prepared for this conversation. Whenever I get time with a leader who I really respect I always make sure I have a list of questions and prioritize them to make sure I ask the most important questions first.
A couple things really jumped out at me from this conversation:
- Make sure that people are not pastor-dependent. One of the two pillars of their church are making sure that every person has a “QT” (quiet time). Pastor Ha said that since all the Korean churches have daily early prayer services it has created a culture of pastor-dependency that needs to be broken. He was essentially saying that we have to teach people to feed themselves. One of the things they do is provide a daily “QT” Guide for people and then a “QT” Leader Guide for small group leaders. Everyday the small group leader sends out a text message to everyone in their group with a brief reflection from their “QT”. The small group discussion is always based on something from the “QT” that week. It’s just like the BIG IDEA, except they do a different topic on the weekends. When I suggested that their weekend services should also align with the “QT” he really liked the idea.
- Multi-site is not the only off-site ministry. I asked him what he thought about doing ministry that is more missional and incarnational. I tried out my new name for this on him – “poly-site” (not just multiple sites, but different kinds of sites). And of course they are already doing it. They are doing ministry in theaters and in cafes to reach different populations that they are not able to reach on any of their eight locations.
It was a real honor to get to spend some time with this caliber of leader. And I forgot to mention that he is also on dialysis three times week – and he still is doing all this stuff! Amazing!