The man Kong Hee calls his senior pastor shares his uncompromising views on discipleship.
By Theresa Tan
Dr. Yonggi Cho’s power-packed preaching on the weekend of Apr. 15 and 16 left the City Harvest Church congregation deeply encouraged. After his sermon on Sunday, he met with a small group of special guests, including His Excellency, Oh Joon, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Singapore, and Mrs Oh. Dr. Cho spoke spiritedly with the group about how God was opening doors into places like Abu Dhabi, where he has been invited to speak.
City News caught up with Dr. Cho on the topics of relationship and discipleship—the theme of CHC for the year.
CITY NEWS: Please tell us about the relationship you have with our senior pastor, Kong Hee.
DR. YONGGI CHO: First, I didn’t know too much about him. My wife was always praying for Brother Kong Hee, [telling me about] his life and ministry. Then I was invited to come to City Harvest Church here. I experienced a tremendous amazing working of the Holy Spirit in your church, then I myself began to love him. He is such a humble, anointed person of God. More than anything, I began to see that God raised him up to bring the gospel from Asia to the rest of the world.
I wanted him to come into CGI (Church Growth International, a ministry founded by Dr. Cho in 1976 to promote unity in the body of Christ), because he is a very successful pastor here. So I invited him to be a member. CGI consists of successful pastors from around the world. We became very dear friends.
As Pastor Kong’s mentor and spiritual father, how have you exercised discipleship with him?
He has been through many troubles and trials. [When I was] a senior pastor his age, I had experienced many troubles, so I try to become a spiritual supporter to him so that he can successfully pass through these troubles. Any growing ministry is bound to have troubles and trials. It is spiritual warfare: the devil will not stay silent, he will come and attack. But through this, Brother Kong Hee is better known through this suffering than any other thing. He is very much widely known throughout the world. I am one of the men who are spreading his ministry wherever I go.
What is one piece of advice you have given to Pastor Kong to help him?
As pastor of a large church, Kong Hee should learn how to delegate his ministry to his aides. He is carrying the whole burden by himself. He is doing this very wonderfully now, but he must share burden with others so that he may not be subdued by the heavy stress.
Also, as church grows, he should set the goal and vision to plant churches throughout the whole world. He should disciple many young people and send them out throughout the world to set up churches like City Harvest Church. This is very important. Bible school training is very important. One’s ministry should be shared with many young people. They will get same vision and dream to spread the gospel even more effectively throughout the world. My ministry is big because I have raised up many, many thousands of disciples. They are all over the world and they are starting churches, and that’s what I praise God for, more than my home ministry. [In my church], hundreds of thousands of people gather together. I should be proud, but those things are fleeting. But my disciples are right now working in every part of the world, in the church. And that is very important. City Harvest Church should get City Harvest Churches around the world by discipling young people.
How can members of the church help Pastor?
Support Pastor! Pray for Pastor! That’s what you must do!
Carry out your responsibility. Pastor should give his work to many associates in his church like I did, through the cell group system. I wanted to share my work with the laity, especially the women. In Korea women had no rights to do anything in the church. They couldn’t even speak! But I raised [them] up as leaders and appointed them as leaders over thousands of people. And they really took hold of the church and trained [the] people. Really wonderful and great! In Korea, 70 percent of church members are women, so women should be given more power and position to do the work of God. By doing that, I grew my church into the largest church in the world, and Kong Hee can be repeating that in Singapore.
What does a Christian need to do to fulfill God’s purpose for his life?
The Bible says it is God who is working in you to will and to desire. When you have desire to do the work of God, you pray before the Lord and the Holy Spirit will put God’s desire into your heart. You begin to have desire. Human desire disappears when you pray, and the desire put by the devil disappears when you pray. But when you have God’s desire, the Holy Spirit makes it burn stronger in your heart, and it grows into dreams and visions and desire, and you will see the direction where you should go.