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Spiritual Pilgrimage to Korea (3): A Generous Church

. 3 min read
By our district superintendent, Rev. Dr. Tom Salsgiver

            Over and over as we listened and learned about the Korean Methodist Churches
and people, we learned that they are a generous people.  This is exhibited
in their stewardship of time and financial resources.  (Next week I’ll
talk a bit about their generosity in giving time.)
           
We heard several times that the understanding of Korean Methodists is that they
are to be giving generously of their financial resources for the work of
Christ.  The Bupyeong Church is in a rather poor neighborhood.  The
pastor told us that most of the church members are not rich—but they have a
generous spirit and a generous heart.
           
One of the expectations of being a Korean Methodist Christian is that you will
tithe as a minimum example of your commitment to God and Jesus Christ. 
They unashamedly talk about giving.  Their reason for giving, they said,
was that they have freely received God’s grace and the gift of eternal life—so
they must give freely of their possessions.
           
When the people were building the first part of the church building, the cost
was $10,000,000. Here are three examples of how they gave:
1.   
When the Bupyeong Church
was building their first church, one man had pledged to give $20,000.  He
had a dream that Jesus told him , “I gave my blood for you—how much will you
give back to me.”  In the dream Jesus told the man to give $20,000. 
The man woke up and when the bank opened, he withdrew $20,000 and gave it to
the church.
2.   
Over and over to build the
church, people would sell their homes, move into a smaller home and give the
money to the church.
3.   
People who were getting
married were so committed to the building of the church and Christ’s kingdom
they gave the money they had saved for their wedding to the church and had a
very simple wedding.
The
church was paid off in 1 year!
To
celebrate the 74th Anniversary of the Bupyeong Church, the
congregation felt a call to start a new church.  They prayed and prayed
until they were certain it was God’s will.  Once they believed it was
God’s will, this church went out and purchased land in another community where
it is projected to have 30,000 new people move into that community.
Once
the land was bought, the church paid to build the church and to purchase all
the equipment and furnishing for the church.   The cost of the church
was $3.4 million with furnishings costing $130,000.  The new church start
began September 22, 2014 and is debt free.
The
church had a vision that God wanted them to start new churches and ministries
in Indonesia. The pastor gave a call that it would cost $30,000 to start one
church and they had a vision to start 10.  In 2 months the church had
given enough extra money that they started 10 new churches in Indonesia.
Some
of their parishioners were so concerned about getting children to Sunday school
that families bought vans so they could transport their neighborhood children
to Sunday school.
This
church also wanted to contribute more to the life of their community. 
They request a list of people from the town who cannot pay their electric and
water bill.  They send $5,000-$10,000 each week to help persons pay their
bills.
The
pastor listed several other missions they do in the community and in the
city.  But I think the examples I have given you, are enough that you can
see that the churches we visited are filled with generous Christians.
During
one of the sermons in the early Morning Prayer service, the pastor reminded
people that they do not have bazaars or fund raisers in the church.  He
said while they are fun and there is a spirit of community, the church is to be
generous in their offerings and their financial resources.  Thus their
entire budget and mission outreach is done through the generosity of the
members giving sacrificially—not fundraisers. 
Why
do they give so much and so generously.  They take seriously the fact that
Jesus Christ sacrificed his life for their salvation and the salvation of the
world.  They can do no less than sacrifice for His mission and
ministry.  The pastor said, “we have freely received God’s grace—we must
give as generously as God has given to us.

God
is blessing these churches and doing great things in the lives of the
unchurched.  Could it be that the blessings come as the people in the
church give more of themselves to make sure that mission and ministry happen?