The temperature was -13 degrees. The church hostel where we were staying was unheated because there were so few visitors in January, and despite wearing several layers of clothing, we couldn’t get warm. It was 1983. Tony, my husband, and I were in Seoul, South Korea to visit the Yoido Full Gospel Church led by Dr. Paul (David) Yonggi Cho— the largest church in the world.
One day, in an effort to get warm, we headed over to the church’s administration building. As we wandered along the hallways between the various offices, someone approached us.
“Would you like an interview with Dr. Cho?”
Much to our surprise, we were ushered into Dr. Cho’s office and had a twenty-minute conversation with him. He said many things to us about the nature of revival and the crucial importance of prayer, but the one thing that has most stood out over the years is this.
“You in the West will never see a move of God until you use your women.”
Prayer is key to the extraordinary growth they have seen in Korea. But women have also played a vital role. Yoido Full Gospel Church began in the home of Choi Ja-shil (who later became Cho’s mother-in-law) in 1958. As the church grew, Cho took on more and more responsibilities until he became exhausted and ill. At this point God challenged him to release women. The church now numbers more than 700,000. Two thirds of the associate pastors are women and 47,000 of the 50,000 cell group leaders are women too.
But three decades later, what Dr. Cho predicted for us has sadly proven true. We in the West have not used our women, nor, with one or two possible exceptions, have we seen any major, long-lasting and wide-sweeping revivals with multitudes being swept into the Kingdom of God. Whereas Korea has gone from around 2 percent of the population being Christian in 1945 to about 30 percent today, we in the West have gone backwards. In the UK where I am from, Christianity is irrelevant to the vast majority of the population. Here in the United States we may be only a generation away from being a post-Christian nation.
The question is, what are we going to do about it?
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6 replies on “Women and revivals”
If women are a key then men are the lock.
Women have been raising boys largely single handed &
as noble & challenging as that is, boys in fatherless
America can’t learn manhood from their mothers.
The churches first ministry is the home but the majority
have taken the easy road to growth via missions & ministry
to outsiders. Our kids quit church before finishing college,
and many abandon the faith, and boys are the majority.
That is our true state as a nation.
If Christians want our heritage back we must become
broken hearted with Gods conviction for our collective failure
as a church. Its the eleventh hour. The marriage supper of
the lamb is near & we are asleep.
Greg, what is manhood as you are using it and what about it precludes mothers from teaching their sons?
Thanks for this discussion, Angie and Greg. It’s both mature and edifying. Great job!
I wish the rest of the “east ” would learn this too! I live in a Chinese culture and the church culture is very sexist unfortunately. Pray we would all learn from Dr Cho and his church.
Great question Angie, and well couched.
As I’m using it, manhood is explained most accurately by knowing Gods identity and character.
Ditto for women.
His full human expression is the man Jesus Christ , which makes it objectively easier to figure out what man (and I think women too) is not.
God is the pattern from which we are cut, and when we’re mature, we look like Him, which means we act from the heart like Christ.
Marriage between a man and woman is intended as a shadow of his full identity as a person within the trinity, which we are mysteriously grafted into by being in Christ.
We could learn much about ourselves if we could quit arguing trifles as a church and discuss that.
Therefore, I don’t think of man (male) as something apart from women, and Iv’e personally not been able to figure out my own manhood without juxtaposing myself to the women in my life, and history.
I’m blessed to have some remarkable women in my life, while having few men at all. I can honestly say I learned to be a man from being nurtured by good women, and wrestling with myself and God as we lived together.
But, and here’s a really subjective conclusion having few men to bounce this off of, I think that when God converted me at 17, He began to teach and remake me from within, complimenting my environment with His own presence and Word to my spirit and mind. I had a severely retarded level of understanding and development when He took me in, but it’s been uphill ever since.
My sons have not had such a difficult journey of self discovery or healing, because my wife and I have blended our love for each other and them into our daily lives with them. We’ve insulated them from the unfair assaults on their mind and heart that I was not protected from, because my mother just couldn’t understand what I was experiencing as a fatherless boy. Our united umbrella of nurture and care allowed them the liberty to find themselves and God in the process.
Without Gods revealed wisdom, man’s linear approach to ‘fixing’ humans, as if we were cars or computers, may have precluded our ability to see the remnant of God within even the worst wreck of a human, and reciprocally, blinkered us from seeing man in God.
I believe this is a key impediment to the church maturing beyond our fetish with doing, rather than being.
Given that the world is locked in a paradigm of men and women competing against one another, rather than completing one another, especially through marriage, it must be really difficult for many to break away from asking the wrong questions.
Wrong questions rarely achieve right answers.
We have two older daughters (25 and 22) and two younger sons (18 and 14) who express my wife and I, as well as surprising themselves and everyone with their own emerging identity’s.
We see our family as a microcosm of Gods and humanity.
Our approach to parenting is as we see Gods way with humans, that is, as a facilitator, and example, and servant, and teacher, and sacrifice to them coming into their own destiny and sentient selves.
Modern psychology, and the schools as its agents, sees children as empty vessels that need to be filled by teaching and other constructs, while we’ve found that God created us filled with innate ability, clear desires, particular bents and some very quirky personalities.
All that missing to unlock and complete us is Himself in us.
Iv’e watched my sons demonstrate objectively to me what I went through in development, and I’m learning from them, as they learn from me. It’s a journey together, where I’m the leader for now, but they’re quickly coming to a place where we will be equals, and more than father and sons, but friends.
That ‘s already happened with our daughters, which as a father, has been a journey of joy and surprise. Our daughters are both like mothers to their brothers, and best friends for each other.
I’m in awe as we watch our children interact with each other as they grow, teaching each other and themselves about their own identities and hearts. They regularly discuss men and women issues, argue, debate, question and listen. But the one abiding anchor among them is respect.
We home schooled, and because they were with each other 24/7, they learned about gender, personality quirks, emotions,sharing, protecting, forbearance, forgiveness etc. In short, the textbooks are poor chronicles of the range of strengths, depths of love and care and the lengths that integrity will go to between men and women, whether, siblings, married or friends.
So, boys need their dads, brothers, uncles, elders etc to model God, so they can recognize themselves, and take responsibility for becoming full and mature men.
Women can teach and train manhood as a concept, and some can even model manhood to some degree, but if they are themselves whole, happy and empowered, they will not try to replace other men, or think that boys can do without them.
Ditto for girls and their mothers.
The church seems to have a form of amnesia about our heritage..
We could quickly re-learn, because Christ is in us, and He has all of history in His identity, and our future is His purpose, which we also don’t discuss, to our loss.
If we would, boys and girls would find their place organically, and mature as men and women of love, faith and truth. And not just Christians, because the world will follow us if we follow Christ through His stages of development rather than the whirlpool of devolution we are being sucked into.
Greg, thank you for your response. There is a lot to sort out, so I’ll stick with the original thought and question. I affirm boys benefit greatly from being raised by their father and seeing manhood modeled in other competent men. My sons have been the beneficiaries of their dad’s modeling as a faithful, loving husband and father.
Your original sentiment that boys cannot learn manhood from their mothers is one I have heard before and I find it curious. If I am reading you right, manhood as you are defining it is maturity, knowing God’s identity and character, and presumably growing in Christ-likeness as God’s identity and character are better known. It also appears as if you define womanhood the same, and you concede women can teach, train, and even model manhood which would make sense if man/woman-hood are the same.
I, too, have home-educated my sons. I have been around my sons 24/7 and have taken very seriously the responsibility to raise them into manhood, even as you have defined it. My husband’s work has him away from home for sometimes several months at a time. The task of teaching and modeling manhood does not cease in my husband’s absence. His faithfulness to work and provide models for them maturity, responsibility, and sacrifice, and, as you said, I can explain the concept and how his actions parallel with God’s character. As a matter of fact, I am very intentional about teaching concepts of productivity, creativity, responsibility, initiative, sacrifice, etc. and how these are, in part, ways in which we reflect the imago dei. However, I believe it is incumbent upon me as a Christ-follower to make him known, especially to my sons, and by God’s grace I must bear the image of Christ by reflecting his character. In other words, I strive to practice what I preach. For their instruction, I take what is abstract in a concept and strive to be a visual aid by modeling maturity, productivity, responsibility, initiative, sacrifice, etc. I pray for the effectiveness of Lois and Eunice.
If I have misunderstood you, my apologies.