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How to Start a Women’s Movement

What could a man possibly teach us about a women’s movement? Perhaps the life of David Yonggi Cho, who passed away last week, has something to teach us. Cho was the pastor of the world’s largest church (700,000 members) in South Korea . When I was young, I read a book he wrote called The Fo…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

What could a man possibly teach us about a women’s movement? Perhaps the life of David Yonggi Cho, who passed away last week, has something to teach us.

Cho was the pastor of the world’s largest church (700,000 members) in South Korea . When I was young, I read a book he wrote called The Fourth Dimension. It was about prayer and it contained a story of how God led him to trust the women of his church when no one else would, asking them to lead the church’s small groups.

In Western nations we take for granted the gains that women have made. But women in many parts of the world are a kind of second-class citizen. South Korea in the 60’s was such a society.

Lee Grady summarizes what Cho did when he was was exhausted pastoring his 3,000-member congregation:

When he told his male leaders that he wanted to divide the church into home cells, they resisted the idea. They didn’t want him to delegate his work to them. “We are not trained to do that and we are not paid to do that,” the men told Cho.

But when Cho presented his idea to Yoido Church’s female leaders, they eagerly embraced the concept and asked him to teach them how to lead. “Teach us, pastor,” the women told Cho. “We will do anything for you.”

When mostly women led the cell groups at Yoido, the church grew from 3,000 to 18,000.

When Yoiddo hit the 700,000 mark, with 50,000 cell groups meeting in homes, the church had 600 associate pastors — and 400 of them were women.

Later Dr. Cho said:

“For 5,000 years in Korea, women had no voice at all. They were only to cater to the needs of the men. Then Christianity came and set women free. Especially in the church, women are free in Korea. In the ministry, they are equal with men. They are licensed. They are ordained. And they become the cell leaders …. Without women, I don’t think I could have build up this big church.

“If you ever train the women, and delegate your ministry to them, they will become tremendous messengers for the Lord. Some of you are going to quote 1 Corinthians 14:34, ‘Women are to be silent in the church.’ I’ll tell you one thing, brothers and sisters. Once women are called into the ministry, they no longer belong to the category of women. They are messengers of the Lord.

For women to be empowered, it helps if men begin to see them differently – it helps if men see their giftings and make room for them.

Women’s movements are needed around the world to tap the natural leadership that God has given women. In many parts of the world where the local culture has not seen this reform yet, male leaders would do well to follow Cho’s example.

Comments (5)

  • Powerful! I always LOVE learning and appreciate what you have learned on your journey in life!
    Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom!

  • The Body of Christ Globally, is yet to tap into the grace and gifting of God in the lives of Women. As Natural Nurturers, Women bring an incredible dimension of God’s power and presence to bear in the work of the Ministry. I pray many Men of God and Leaders in the Faith will grant Women the opportunities to express the hidden virtues bestowed on them by God. Their is an earnest expectation by the World ?? and the manifestations include Women.

    Thanks “Dad” for leading the way and being a worthy example to emulate.

    • Sola – you set such a high bar for women.

      And thanks for putting “Dad” in quotes so that people don’t think that it’s a title I seek, but an honorific you bestow as a Nigerian to elderly men you respect. You and Uche help me to age gracefully!

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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