Unfazed by recent controversies, congregants and foreign delegates alike came together to make the 24th CGI Conference a glorious gathering of celebration and worship unto the Lord.
Contributed By Mark Kwan
Despite allegations of wrongdoing that hit chairman of the board Dr. David Yonggi Cho just last month, the 24th Church Growth International conference saw more than 80,000 local and foreign attendees congregate in a display of solidarity and support for the man and his undeniable contributions to the kingdom of God.
Besides being chairman of the CGI board, Cho is also the founder of Yoido Full Gospel Church in South Korea, which is widely regarded as the world’s largest Christian congregation with close to a million members. Humble beginnings marked the launch of the church in 1958, with just Cho and his mother-in-law as its founding members. Over the 53 years that followed its inception, the church has seen unprecedented growth coupled with a ministry characterized by revelatory messages and astounding miracles that have brought revival to the Republic of Korea and beyond.
In September 2011, details of a complaint against Cho for allegedly misappropriating church funds surfaced in the Korean media. Though Cho categorically denied these claims, attributing them to “a smear campaign by a very small group of people in [the] church,” at that point of time, it remained to be seen whether the allegations would adversely affect the CGI conference that was scheduled for Oct. 11 to 17. Suffice to say any such worry was quickly proven unfounded when the conference dates came around.
Over the seven days of sessions and activities that took place at the Yoido Full Gospel Church sanctuary, the Prayer Mountain as well as the Seoul World Cup Stadium, Cho, together with other prominent movers and shakers of the international Christian community, taught powerful principles from the Bible to conference attendees.
Notable speakers included Casey Treat (USA), who spoke on the power of a positive spirit; David E. Sumrall (USA), who taught on the requirements needed to leave a fruitful and lasting legacy; Cesar Castellanos (Columbia), whose message brought about an assurance of God’s blessing on every believer’s life; Phil Pringle (Australia), who encouraged attendees to seek the Holy Spirit and receive fresh anointing; and Kong Hee (Singapore), who reminded the Korean church of the importance of actively engaging the younger generation in order to allow revival to carry on forward into the future.
When asked about his thoughts about this year’s CGI conference, Kong expressed his admiration toward the strength of the Korean ministry, “This church shows phenomenal spiritual strength and maturity that has been built up through years of prayer, fasting and a deep love of God’s Word. When they pray in one accord, it feels like they can literally move mountains!”
Kong’s wife, Sun Ho, was also present at the conference. As a special guest artiste invited by Cho, she took the stage to perform two songs in front of a capacity crowd at the Seoul World Cup Stadium during the International Grand Prayer Rally on Day 4. She sang the soaring musical number “Someone Like You” followed by “Wave The Banner Of The Cross,” an uplifting Korean hymn written and composed by Cho and his wife, Kim Sung-Hae. Ho’s stellar performance and her efforts to sing and speak in the Korean language were rewarded with loud appreciative cheers from the audience.
Says Ho, “As I stood together with the CGI crowd—holding hands, praying, worshipping and giving thanks to God so fervently—I saw the principle of the Fourth Dimension at work among His people … It really doesn’t matter what situation we are in. We have been given the power to speak the Word of God and ‘recreate’ the world around us according to His plans and purposes!”
Adds Singaporean delegate, Guan Yuexin, “Walking across the stadium field as part of the procession of foreign delegates, I looked up into the masses and was blown away by the expressions of joy and faith that I saw in their faces. This is clearly a united people who loves their God and honors the man who has helped them to know Him more.”
Though there were many anointed moments during the conference, the key highlight was certainly Cho’s time with the delegates, who gave him a rousing standing ovation when he was introduced onstage. During his hour-and-a-half exposition complete with lively stories, jokes and lessons that he has gleaned through his five decades in ministry, Cho shared about his life and experiences with the Holy Spirit, particularly on the importance of verbal “confession” and “speaking out the life that you are meant to live in Christ.” Through his candidly-delivered message, he introduced the audience to a man of deep humility who has chosen at an early age to give his entire life to the cause of Christ; committing his existence wholly and obediently to the visions and dreams that the Holy Spirit has placed upon his heart.
In an apt statement that sums up his life ethos, Cho said, “Sometimes, you need to feel foolish and do things that seem foolish to you in order to be obedient to the calling of God and to be successful … This is a foolish man talking to you right now. But if you become foolish like me, you will do great works in the kingdom of God!”