SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, July 16 /PRNewswire/ -- As demonstrations over a
proposed Free Trade Agreement gridlocked the capital city and a typhoon
ripped up the western coast towards North Korea, where the stand-off
continues over recent missile firings, Dr. Rick Warren, of Saddleback
Valley Community Church, visited South Korea this week and challenged
churches of all denominations to work and pray for a third wave of revival
across the Korean peninsula.
"I love the people of Korea," Dr. Warren said at a packed press
conference upon arrival in Seoul, approximately one-third of the way
through a 35-day tour of 13 countries in Asia and Africa. "It is my prayer
that the events of the next few days will bring revival to this great
Beyond renewal, Dr. Warren emphasized there were four additional
reasons for his visit. First, he said he wanted to learn from Korean
churches, which have sent out more missionaries than any other nation, and
in many ways have served as a model of innovation for congregations in
other countries -- including the United States.
Secondly, Dr. Warren said he wanted to encourage Korean churches of all
denominations to work together. "One church can't do much, but together, we
can change the world," he said.
Thirdly, Dr. Warren indicated he wanted to encourage business and
government leaders to value and cooperate with the church in solving
humanitarian issues. Finally, he stressed he came to bring the Good News of
the Gospel of Christ that can bring new life for people of all religions.
"My message In Korea is the same as everywhere else I go, that there is
only one hope for mankind -- a relationship with Jesus Christ," he said.
"God has blessed this nation with great material achievement -- my home
is filled with electronics from Korea," Dr. Warren added. "But like many
other parts of the world, many successful people are empty inside. We were
made for more than success, but also for significance. God has a purpose
for every life."
Dr. Warren and his team conducted a two-day Purpose Driven Church
conference for 20,000 pastors -- the biggest they have held in any of the
162 countries where they have provided such training -- at Yoido Full
Gospel Church, the world's largest congregation.
On Thursday evening, Dr. Warren set an attendance record at Seoul World
Cup Stadium, site of the FIFA World Cup finals in 2002, as an overflow
crowd of more than 100,000 filled the 65,000-seat facility, with nearly
30,000 watching on large video screens outside the venue. The theme of the
week and this message was "Hope for a Wave of Revival." At the close of the
service, virtually the entire audience stood with him to confess and commit
they will do whatever it takes to bring about revival in their lives, their
churches, their communities and their country.
On Friday morning, Dr. Warren met with South Korean President Roh
Moo-Hyun at The Blue House. The cordial meeting -- originally scheduled for
ten minutes -- went for 45 minutes, during which the two men discussed a
wide range of topics.
That afternoon, Dr. Warren traveled to Busan, Korea's second largest
city with a population of more than 4 million and over 1500 churches. When
word spread throughout the countryside, more than 5,000 rural pastors
gathered for an abbreviated training session, followed by an evening rally
drawing approximately 15,000 attendees from surrounding communities.
Dr. Warren's visit was organized by Dr. Billy Kim, founder and chair of
Far Eastern Broadcasting Corporation (FEBC), Dr. David Yonggi Cho, senior
pastor of Yoido Full Gospel Church, and Dr. Jung-Hyun Oh, pastor of Sarang
Church and founder of International Discipleship Agency.
"Korea has been in great confusion and troubled socially, economically
and militarily -- especially the Christians," Dr. Cho said. "God has used
Dr. Warren to renew the Korean Church and Christian faith in Korea. I have
never seen so many preachers gathered together in one place, and I am very
happy about it."
Dr. Billy Kim referred to the crowd jamming the stadium as a miracle,
particularly as the typhoon rains cleared just in time for the service.
"Rick Warren is a great leader, and we trust that with what he has done
here, we will see the second wave of a great revival across Korea."
According to Dr. Oh, the meetings this week were historic. "Earlier
revivals have emphasized the Holy Spirit and evangelism, and the current
focus of our church is on discipleship," he said. "But Rick Warren puts the
emphasis on life -- the Purpose Driven Life -- which is the real, timely
need of the Korean church today. That is why something is happening."
Following pastoral training and meetings with church, government and
religious leaders in Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia before
arriving Seoul, Dr. Warren and his team are scheduled to depart Korea July
18 for Hong Kong, Macau, Philippines and Rwanda, before returning home the
first week of August. After a few days rest, he and his wife, Kay will be
speaking at the 16th Annual AIDS Conference to be held in Toronto, Canada
FOR INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Whitney Kelley 972/267-1111-O; 214/457-1398-M
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SOURCE Saddleback Valley Community Church