In the last couple of decades, the Korean church experienced a loss of credibility as well as a
decrease in membership. The premise of this contribution is that the mega-church phenomenon
in Korea contributed to this state of affairs. Many Korean churches, influenced by dramatic
sociopolitical and economic changes, developed a distorted understanding of its nature and
mission. Korean churches began to compete against each other to grow bigger. An institutional
ecclesiology and ecclesiocentric understanding of mission formed the basis of this endeavour.
To counter this tendency, some churches turned to missional ecclesiology to facilitate the
reformation of the Korean church. According to empirical data, Korean society rates megachurches
negatively while they evaluate missional churches positively. This provided further
impetus for the current emerging missional movement in Korea.
This article represents a reworked version of aspects from the PhD thesis of Yongsoo Lee, titled, ‘From proto-missional to
mega-church: a critique of ecclesial “growth” in Korea’, in the Department of Church History and Church Polity, University of Pretoria,
with Dr Wim A. Dreyer as supervisor. (http://hdl.handle.net/2263/63428)