Religion and Ethics Newsweekly–The World’s Biggest Congregation

LUCKY SEVERSON, correspondent: There are big churches, and then there’s the Yoido Full Gospel Church here in Seoul, South Korea. It’s the mother of megachurches, with the largest congregation in the world. On a typical day 200,000 will attend one of seven services along with another two or three hundred thousand watching them on TV in adjoining buildings or satellite branches. While some other churches may be losing members, this one just keeps growing. The main sanctuary here holds 21,000 worshipers packed to the rafters seven times every Sunday. Each service has its own orchestra, its own choir, its own pastor. There are hundreds of assistants. There need to be. Each service is translated into 16 different languages for visitors. Karen Kim is a pastor with the church’s international division. She says she was shocked when she first moved here from Australia.

KAREN KIM: I think when you’ve got people this size, like you have to have structure, and you have to have organization, because otherwise people would be getting killed. Like you can’t just let it all just take care of itself. Like there has to be like organized rosters of volunteers and things like that to get people in and out of the service, or these people will literally die and get crushed….

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Parish Ministry, South Korea

2 comments on “Religion and Ethics Newsweekly–The World’s Biggest Congregation

  1. Yebonoma says:

    Could someone with expertise in Asian culture comment on why Christianity seems do have made significant inroads in Korea and China, while having little to no impact in Japan?

  2. yohanelejos says:

    In modern history, the Korean and the Chinese churches stood up under persecution, which the Japanese church did not — for the postwar period, it was quite prosperous. The Japanese church has tended to be upper middle class and above, and was not able to draw in laborers during the period of heavy urbanization starting in the early 60s. I believe there is underlying spiritual bondage as well.