Stories of Discipleship: Korean House Churches Inspiring Pastors

14 Dec 2023

By Amy Galliford

A group of churches of Christ leaders recently gathered at Sydney Crystal Church to hear stories and draw inspiration from the rapidly growing Korean Ga Jung (House) Church network. 

Among the leaders were Executive Ministry Director Daz Farrell, members of the Network Resource Team and a number of pastors.

“The purpose of the event was to share what Sydney Crystal and others are doing in their house church ministries,” said Pioneering Coordinator Jo Huntington, who attended. “It was designed to be a blessing to the network and an opportunity to think through different forms of discipleship.”

Sydney Crystal senior pastor Martin Song and Heartbeat senior pastor Joshua Choi hosted the event to explore the principles underpinning their house church network. Over a generous spread of food, the visitors listened to the testimonies of Korean House Church network members seated alongside them.

“We were sharing story, which was a gift,” Jo recalled.

One such testimony came from a young university student, Seri Yi, who has served as a ‘shepherd’ or lay leader of the Salatiga house church for two years.

She highlighted the house church’s ‘relational evangelism’ and strong focus on serving the non-believing group members. She also emphasised the guidance of God in everyday life as key to the constant addition of new faces to their gathering.

“He will use my very small obedience for his great work of salvation,” she said.

Over the past two years, Salatiga church has grown three more house churches and seen many people encounter God.

Pastors Martin and Joshua are passionate proponents of the house church network’s Three Axis Model, frequently running conferences and providing resources to churches about its principles.

With their strong emphasis on small, local gatherings, lay leadership, robust discipleship and committed evangelism, these tenets represent an alternative vision of the contemporary church while remaining practical and applicable tools within mainstream churches.

For the attendees of this event, they broadened the horizons of how discipleship could look within their communities.

“What impressed me most was the ability to train a multitude of ‘shepherds’ – a term I prefer and use instead of ‘leader’ – that were fully committed to love, serve and give sacrificially with joy. From the start they know there is a price to pay,” says William Tjoa, who attended the event as Lead Servant-Shepherd of Chatswood Church of Christ.

“What was key for me was how they are posturing themselves … every person in their church clearly sees themselves as part of what God is doing in their communities,” Jo said.

Through the dialogue it facilitated between communities, this event inspired a new curiosity about how these interlocking networks might encourage one another.

“We recognised that there is so much to learn from each other and that God might be in the midst of that,” Jo concluded.

Read more about Martin and Joshua’s house church ministries here:

Read more stories from churches of Christ in NSW & ACT HERE