Christian Post – Yoido Full Gospel Church in South Korea, often recognized as the world’s largest megachurch, has admitted to a “stagnation” and “slowdown” in its growth following major controversies surrounding its leader and affiliates.
“Right now, we have a little slowdown and stagnation period,” Young-hoon Lee, the successor to the now retired Yong-gi Cho, who founded the church in Seoul in 1958, told PRI.
Cho was convicted in February 2014 of embezzling $12 million of the church’s funds, and was sentenced to three years in prison, though the sentence was suspended.
The former senior pastor was found guilty of directing officials to buy stocks from his son at four times the market price.
Pastors, such as Bob Rodgers of Evangel World Prayer Center, defended Cho at the time, however, arguing that he trusted his elders and his son to check and the read the thousands of pages of paperwork, and signed the papers without being fully informed of what was going on.
Yoido Full Gospel Church officials claim that the congregation, part of the Assemblies of God denomination, is approaching 800,000 people in total. It also reportedly attracts nearly 200,000 people to worship services every week at the main church in Yeouido, though they did not clarify how much the slowdown has affected that.
oido Full Gospel Church has been ranked as the largest Christian megachurch in the world on several lists, including one in September 2016 by Church Growth Today, which at the time said that it attracts 180,000 weekly worshipers.
Lee expressed his confidence that the slowdown is only temporary, however, and that the church will continue growing.
“We are going to have another great awakening and revival in Korea, because I believe Jesus is coming soon,” he said.