Book Review: Successful Home Cell Groups by Dr. Paul Yonggi Cho
“Successful Home Cell Groups” by Paul Yonggi Cho is a great testimony of God’s grace in building His church in South Korea and the influence Cho has had around the world. Dr. Cho has initiated more projects and influenced more lives that likely any other Christian in our age. He is obviously committed to Jesus Christ and making disciples. He was so focused on building God’s kingdom on earth that he didn’t need to listen to many others about building a church. His church numbered about one million in 2007 and he has now turned the church to Dr. Lee Yoon. This book was written in 1981 when the church was only about 150,000. He set off with dependency on the Lord with goals in mind. His goal of numbers drove him to see the largest church built in the world.
He based his growth on two things. First, he realized if he was going to expand beyond the 2400 he saw his church plateau at, he would need to decentralize the authority. He did this through home cell groups who came under his authority. He gave cell leaders his message and training on Wednesday nights. He then expected from them after the Sunday message, they would build up the people with the Word and love them into the group. It wasn’t love that was just mentioned, but love that had feet to the actions.
The home cell groups were the means of outreach. He exhorted his people to reach out to neighbors and love them in tangible ways. The examples he gives demonstrate the humility of the people under his ministry. If anyone wanted to join Cho’s church, they first had to sign up to be a part of a cell group.
The second basis of growth was setting goals with numbers. He made sure people knew the numbers and they submitted to his authority to reach more people. I wouldn’t want to take away anything that the Lord has done through his ministry, yet the eastern humility and authority orientation of the Korean culture is off the charts and likely assisted in the expansion. Yet, he has been effective in many other countries around the world. He also attributes a great deal of his ministry to the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.
Some might argue about some of his theologies. I am always amazed at the reality that some people may not see Scripture exactly as I do. But what I do respect is the humble results of what God has done through Dr. Cho. It is incredible and astounding. You will catch a vision for the possibility of home groups if you haven’t been in one before and you’ll be reinforced to press to the upward call if you already are using home groups.