Written Interview Comments
Originally, these written interviews were birthed out of a desire to learn with the intention of developing a questionnaire that would randomly sample the entire Church. As several weeks passed, it became apparent that a wider survey of opinions was unnecessary.
The written interviews, which were translated into Korean, had a certain risk in not communicating the intended question, if the translation was not clear. As a safeguard, an interpreter in the radio/TV department was kind enough to take the Korean translation and translate it back into English. This resulted in altering the perception of question #5, which I will explain when we get to it. After a brief introduction and the mention of a possible follow-up personal interview, I asked for a name, phone number and encouraged English answers if the respondent was able. The questions then followed.
1. How long have you been a member of Yoido Full Gospel Church? Please describe how you first became a member. (If a person was involved, please describe their position in the Church.)
The average tenure was 10 1/2 years, with some being in the Church only 2 years to people who had been a member 24 years. One person responded very personally by saying "Since High School" - like I would know. Although the majority of respondents were influenced to come to the church by their friends and relatives, the other categories included: Dr. Cho - 8% ** Pastor - 6% ** Section Leader - 6% ** Deaconess - 8% ** Cell Group Leader - 3% ** Teacher - 3% (people are considered a friend or relative before being considered a Cell Group Leader)
There were some people who responded "myself" meaning that they believe the Holy Spirit led them to Christianity without any outside influence, which apparently is not an uncommon occurrence in Korean Christianity.
A senior deaconess who had been in the Church 24 years just said, "By my sister". A Sunday School Vice Superintendent said, "Sixteen years ago, I was led by my university friend, who was studying electrical engineering". Another response by a Pastor friend of mine was, "My younger brother's fiancee took me to this Church when I was in trouble in the midst of my problems".
2. Give a brief description of your involvement in the Church (and title if any).
There were 23% Pastors and 23% section leaders and 6% senior deaconesses. the largest group had no title as one person stated, "I have not duty, but I am engaged in being a Christian".
3. How often do you pray? How long?
The longest prayer time was 3 hours a day and the shortest was "about 5 minutes". The most common answer was 1 hour (46%). People who pray 1 hour or more a day composed 74% of the group. This is probably a normal reflection of most active in this Church.
4. Have you ever experienced a miracle personally? If yes please describe.
89% of the people responded yes, and many shared personal miracles, such as, "a small lump disappeared from my breast". One miracle stated, "My father was a 55 year old Buddhist since youth, but he converted 7 years ago by the power of continued prayer of family members".
5. Have you witnessed a miracle in the last year?
This question received only a 54% yes - it was translated differently. I was asking if they had "seen a miracle" but when it was translated in reverse I discovered that it asked, "Did you testify about a miracle last year?" One of the negative responses was, "Not publicly, but in my fellowship with fellow Christians, I share my testimony."
6. What do you think is the major reason behind the success of Yoido Full Gospel Church? (Dr. Cho's Church)
This question resulted in many different answers from many individuals. The largest single reason mentioned was "Dr. Cho", which only received 20% of the responses. Spiritually oriented answers, such as "prayer" and "Holy Spirit" represented the single biggest category with 46% of the responses. Some of the other areas mentioned were "good organization" with 10% and "evangelism" and "cell groups" each with 5% of the responses. As you may have noticed in Chapter 3 some of these same questions were used.
7. Do you think the success of this Church can be duplicated in other places in Korea? In the rest of the world?
Both questions received an overwhelmingly "YES" response of 91%, with most referring to God or the Holy Spirit as the reason. Some of the more precious comments were: "Our Church's phenomena is not only for Korea, also all over the world". "The reason for the success of our Church is God's works." "It works, because I think that all we have to do is be obedient to the words of God, and spread the Gospel and pray constantly." "God works the same in praying." "If a Church goes with the Five Fold Message of the Gospel and Three Fold Blessings of Salvation, it is possible to succeed anywhere."
Note: this refers to a strong teaching of Dr. Cho -The Five Fold Message of the Gospel is: 1. Salvation 2. Holy Spirit 3. Divine Healing 4. Blessings 5. Second Coming of Jesus Christ - The Three Fold Blessings of Salvation: (from 3 John 2) 1. As thy soul prospereth 2. Thou mayest prosper 3. And be in health
8. If Dr. Cho was physically unable to be the Pastor, would some people stop going to the Church? Why?
This question drew a 57% "yes" response. Possibly the most articulate response from the "yes" side was, "Yes, it will decrease to some extent. It will depend on the succeeding Pastor's spiritual capability." Most of the "yes" responses referred to Dr. Cho's favorable personal attributes, strong preaching and outstanding spiritual leadership. Another "yes" response was, "His leadership is so powerful, in my opinion, without him a little bit of our members would move out from our Church." Most of the "no" responses did not elaborate under the "Why?" part, but one woman section leader strongly stated her reason. "Absolutely not. I'm sure that the members of this Church have experienced the fullness of the Holy Spirit and the Living God. Therefore, I don't think that is changed."
9. Do you do anything to help the Church?
This question primarily drew a repeat of the responses in Question 2. One precious response from a lady who had only been a member for two years was, "At present, I only pray for my church every day"
10. How could the Church be improved?
The largest response, 31% was no comment. The next largest response was references to more "love" and "endless prayer". There was a practical comment, "Need more space". A response that could apply to lots of Churches, "Love each other - The Bond of Love."
11. What do you consider the main reason people are members of Yoido Full Gospel Church?
There were 21 different subjects mentioned. The following were the top 4 mentioned, in order. 1. Miracles "many sick people are cured" 2. Dr. Cho 3. The Holy Spirit 4. The Five fold Message of the Gospel and The Three Fold blessings of Salvation
12. Are you involved in a home cell group? If yes, how often do you attend?
62% responded that they are involved and attend at least once a week. As a result of this question, I discovered that Pastors are not in cell groups and that there are some members of the Church who do not participate in cell groups.
13. Does God speak to you personally? How do you know? (please describe)
This question received an 89% positive response that resulted in precious comments, such as the following:
"Once in a while, I hear whispering voice that comes from heart while I am praying."
"Sometime I heard His voice."
"God said, 'Open your spirit eyes. Look at a billion people in China.' Now I go to theology college."
"When we meet a problem and pray for it, God's word gets into my mind."
"During the prayer with tongues, He makes me understand in my mind."
14. Is there a question we forgot to ask?
This drew a no response. Apparently everyone had said what they wanted to say. The written interviews helped guide me with all the interviews as mentioned in other chapters. It is my hope that these comments and this book will bless you in your efforts to serve God.
For the title page and contents, Chapter 1 Setting the Stage, Chapter 2 Only in Korea?,
Chapter 3 Winning a Country for Christ, Chapter 4 Prayer That Moves Mountains,
Chapter 5 The Weapon at Work, Chapter 6 How Cell Groups Work,
Chapter 7 100 Days in Inchon, Appendix: Written Interview Comments