You are on page 1of 6

Yoido Full Gospel Church

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search
Yoido Full Gospel Church
여의도 순복음 교회

Location Yoido Island, Seoul, South Korea

Country South Korea

Denomination Assemblies of God

Churchmanship Full Gospel/Pentecostal
Membership 1,000,000 (2007)[1]
Website Official website
Former name(s) Full Gospel Central Church (1973-1990)
Founded 1973
Founder(s) Rev. Dr. David Yonggi Cho
Status Megachurch
Functional status Active
Style Modern
Senior pastor(s) Rev. Dr. David Yonggi Cho
Pastor(s) Rev. Lee Young-hoon and 526 others
Yoido Full Gospel Church
Hangul 여의도 순복음 교회
Hanja 汝矣島純福音敎會
Revised Romanization Yeouido Sunbogeum Gyohoe
McCune–Reischauer Yŏŭido Sunbogŭm Kyohoe

Yoido Full Gospel Church is a Pentecostal church on Yeouido (Yoi Island) in Seoul,
South Korea. With about 1,000,000 members (2007), it is the largest Protestant Christian
congregation in South Korea,[1] and the world. Founded and led by David Yonggi Cho since
1958, it is an internationally visible manifestation of Korean Christianity.


• 1 Early years: 1958-1961

• 2 The Seodaemun Church: 1961-1973
• 3 The Yoido Church: 1973-present
• 4 Architecture and location
• 5 Ministries of the church
• 6 Recent activities
• 7 See also
• 8 References

• 9 External links

[edit] Early years: 1958-1961

The Yoido Full Gospel Church was founded by Pastor David Yonggi Cho and his mother-
in-law, Choi Ja-shil (최자실), both Assemblies of God pastors. On May 15, 1958, a
worship service was held in the home of Choi Ja-shil. Apart from the two pastors, only
Choi Ja-shil's three daughters (one of whom later married David Yonggi Cho) and one
elderly woman, who had come in to escape from the rain, attended the first service. The
two pastors began a vigorous campaign of knocking on doors, providing spiritual and
humanitarian help to the poor, and praying for the sick. Within months, the church had
grown to fifty members, too many to accommodate in Choi Ja-shil's living room. Worship
services were accordingly moved to a tent pitched in her backyard. As the church continued
to grow over the following months and years, the church outgrew one tent after another.

Pastor Cho began preaching on the Three-Fold Blessing (the blessing of the spirit, soul, and
body), proclaiming that physical health and financial prosperity are as much a part of God's
will for Christians as the salvation of the soul. Inspired by his message of hope and
monetary wealth, many previously uncommitted people joined the church, and by the
beginning of 1961, membership had grown to a thousand.[citation needed] Having grown too large
for its tent, the church purchased its first plot of land, at Seodaemun (서대문).

[edit] The Seodaemun Church: 1961-1973

The church's plans for expansion suffered a setback when Pastor Cho was called up for
mandatory military service. Fortunately for the church, he was assigned to an American
Army base near Seoul, allowing him to continue with his Sunday preaching, with the help
of John Hurston, an American missionary. Cho's spell in the army was short, as ill-health
required a major operation and a subsequent discharge from the army. Although ill, Cho
continued to pastor the church, and on 15 October 1961 an inaugural service was held in
the new auditorium that had been built on the plot of land the church had purchased at
Seodaemun.[citation needed] It was named the Full Gospel Revival Center.

Church membership continued to grow, reaching three thousand by 1964 and eight
thousand by 1968.[citation needed] Cho continued to be plagued by ill health, and he suffered a
physical collapse while leading a baptismal service one Sunday.[citation needed] At this time, Cho
decided to restructure the church.[when?] Cho divided the city of Seoul into zones, with
church members in each zone comprising a "cell" that would meet on a weekday for
worship and bible study in the home of a "cell leader." Cell members were encouraged to
invite their friends to attend cell meetings to learn about Christianity. Each cell leader was
instructed to train an assistant. When cell membership reached a certain number, it would
be divided, with about half of its members joining the new cell led by the person who had
been the assistant. Cho later wrote a book in English about this concept of "cell
multiplication", which has since been emulated by churches throughout the world.[citation

Some of Cho's methods were controversial.[citation needed] He believed that women would make
ideal cell leaders, having both the time and the desire to make home visits to other
members, something that many men, for reasons pertaining to Korean culture as it was at
that time, were unwilling to do. His decision to appoint women as cell leaders, went against
the grain of Korean culture, which at that time was not open to the idea of women leading
groups that had male members. He persisted, and the cell concept turned out to be an
outstanding success. From 125 cells in 1967, the church has grown to several thousand cells
today.[citation needed]

Aside from restructuring as a cell-based church, a Women's Fellowship was started in 1960,
followed by a Men's Fellowship in 1963, to enable lay members to serve the church in a
wide range of volunteer capacities. A church magazine, "Faith" was also started in 1967.
Containing Bible studies, testimonies, and evangelistic messages, this monthly periodical
soon spread far beyond Seoul.

[edit] The Yoido Church: 1973-present

Membership continued to grow exponentially, reaching ten thousand in the early 1970s.
Having outgrown its Seodaemun premises, the church began looking for a new place to

Yeouido (Yoi Island or 여의도), in the middle of the Han River which winds its way
through the heart of Seoul, was at that time little more than sand dunes, without even a
bridge to connect it to the city of Seoul. Believing that he had heard from God, Cho and the
other leaders of the church decided to purchase a plot of land on Yoi Island. Economic
problems, including the 1973 "oil shock" which led to spiraling inflation and the loss of
jobs for many church members, delayed construction of the new auditorium. However, it
was finally finished in 1973, and its inaugural worship service was held on 19 August of
that year. A month later, Full Gospel Central Church, as it was now known, hosted the 10th
Pentecostal World Conference at the Hyochang Stadium. Fifty-five thousand attended,
including five thousand foreigners.

Membership of Full Gospel Central Church reached fifty thousand by 1977, a figure which
doubled in only two years. On 30 November 1981, membership topped 200,000. By this
time, it was the largest single congregation in the world and was recognized as such by the
Los Angeles Times. A special worship service was held to celebrate this milestone, with
Demos Shakarian, President of the Full Gospel Businessmen's Fellowship International as
the guest speaker.

Beginning in the 1980s, Full Gospel Central Church decided to establish satellite churches
throughout the city of Seoul and further afield, as it would not be able to keep on expanding
indefinitely. Despite the expansion of the auditorium to seat 12,000 in 1983, seven Sunday
services were insufficient to accommodate the entire membership. As exponential growth
continued, reaching 700,000 by 1992, the need for satellite churches became more pressing.
Despite the drain of members to the satellite churches, however, new recruits by the mother
church - brought in through the vast cell network - have made up for the losses, and
membership stood at 780,000 in 2003. The church was renamed Yoido Full Gospel Church
in the 1990s. Its founder, Mr David Yonggi Cho, has retired as head pastor several times,
but the church has run into immediate infighting among the remaining ministers, causing
him to come out of retirement, most recently late in 2006. As of 2007, membership stands
at 830,000, with seven Sunday services translated into 16 languages.[1]

On 9 January 2009 a Sunday church service was featured in a BBC documentary Around
the World in 80 Faiths.

[edit] Architecture and location

This section requires expansion.

In the heart of Seoul, the Yoido Full Gospel Church sits directly across from Korea's
National Assembly. The building is large enough to seat 26,000 people, with overflow sent
to nearby buildings who watch events in the main church on telescreens.[1]

[edit] Ministries of the church

Yoido Full Gospel Church has established many ministries as part of its outreach program,
both locally and internationally. A representative sample of them follows:

• In March 1973, the Osanri Prayer Mountain was founded. Comprising tiny cubicles
in which people may lock themselves to fast and pray, Prayer Mountain now
receives more than a million visitors a year, including some 50,000 foreigners.
• In November 1976, Church Growth International, an organization dedicated to
teaching the principles of evangelism and church growth to pastors all over the
world, was established.
• A ten-story World Evangelical Center, an educational institution attached to the
church, was opened on 20 January 1977.
• A television studio, opened on 31 December 1981, was built to broadcast the
worship services both nationally and internationally.
• The Full Gospel Educational Research Institute, now the International Theological
Institute, to promote evangelism and theological training.
• In January 1986, Elim Welfare Town, a facility for the elderly, the young, the
homeless, and the unemployed, was set up under the auspices of the church. The
latter would be given training and a choice of four occupations. In March of the
same year, the church established Hansei University.

[edit] Recent activities

In March 1996, the Seoul Logos Company published a 21-volume collection of Pastor
Cho's sermons, delivered over his ministry of thirty-eight years. What the church regarded
as a crowning honour came in September 1992, when Pastor Cho was elected Chairman of
the World Assemblies of God Fellowship. This was the first time that international
leadership of the denomination of fifty million members in sixty countries had passed out
of American hands. He served in this capacity until August 2000. Pastor Cho, now assisted
by a total of 171 associate pastors and 356 lay pastors, continues to lead the Yoido Full
Gospel Church, whose status as the world's largest congregation has been recognized by the
Guinness Book of World Records.[citation needed]

[edit] See also

• Christianity in Korea – an overview of the history and social impact of Christianity
in Korea.
• David Yonggi Cho – a biography of the Senior Pastor of Yoido Full Gospel Church.
• Yeouido (Yeoui Island)
• List of Korea-related topics
• Megachurch

[edit] References
1. ^ a b c d "O come all ye faithful". Special Report on Religion and Public Life (The
Economist): p. 6. 2007-11-03.
story_id=10015239&CFID=25385374. Retrieved 2007-11-05.

This article needs additional citations for verification.

Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be
challenged and removed. (November 2007)

[edit] External links

• Yoido Full Gospel Church website

Christianity in Korea

Korean Christian Federation (state-controlled body) · Bongsu Church (state-

Churches in controlled body) ·
North Korea
Chilgol Church (state-controlled body)

Seoul Grace Church · Korea Baptist Convention · Yoido Full Gospel

Church · Anglican Church of Korea · Young Nak Presbyterian Church ·
Churches in Korea Campus Crusade for Christ · Myungsung Presbyterian Church · True
South Korea Jesus Church in Korea · World Mission Society Church of God · Presbyterian
Church of Korea · Roman Catholicism in Korea · Korean Orthodox Church ·
Pyungkang Cheil Presbyterian Church

Gregorious de Cespedes · Horace Newton Allen · Henry Appenzeller ·

Missionaries Jonathan Goforth · Rosetta Sherwood Hall · George Heber Jones · Bill
in Korea Majors · Nagasaka · John Livingstone Nevius · William Noble · Donald
Owens · Robert Jermain Thomas · Horace Grant Underwood · Tom Vasel

Coordinates: 37°31′52″N 126°55′24″E / 37.531044°N 126.923265°E

Retrieved from ""

Categories: Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul | Churches in South Korea | Pentecostal churches |
Megachurches | Churches in Seou