A few things helped Christianity take hold on the Korean peninsula in the late 1800s. One was the indigenous belief in a supreme being, which easily translated over to belief in the Christian God. Another was that missionaries often advocated for churches to become self-supporting and indigenous-led as soon as possible. Third, missionaries brought with them Western medicine and education. Their hospitals and schools and universities—and the American Christian values they represented—were especially attractive to young Koreans.
By the year 2000, there were 14.7 million Christians in South Korea, where the communal culture and limited space gave rise to megachurches. Today, the world’s largest Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist, and Assemblies of God congregations are all in Seoul. But in a world heading toward postmodernism and deconstruction, and in an isolationist era exacerbated by COVID-19, Korea churches are having trouble encouraging people’s faith and worship practices.
However, some are taking the opportunity to break away from megachurches. Korean pastors today report more of a sober and God-focused approach to ministry. During this time, we hope and pray that churches and ministries can work together for a true gospel renewal.
Ways to pray:
- Praise for God’s sovereign care over Korean history, so that the gospel took hold of millions for salvation
- For Christians in Korea to work together in presenting the truth, as the cultural and religious stalwarts become increasingly rare
- For the younger generation of South Koreans seeking Christianity; pray they find the gospel as the answer above all other things
“Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.” 2 Corinthians 4:1
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