| 1. The Growing Church
The membership of the church at Seo-dae-mun continued to skyrocket
day by day. With the membership reaching 10,000, the Seo-dae-mun
church was no longer adequate to accomodate all the members.
Accordingly, the church began looking for a new place to build.
Although many places were considered, it was not easy to find
the right place to build a new church to accommodate its continuing
It was then that Yoido was submitted as a candidate. At the
time, Yoido Island was undeveloped and was being used as a runway
for aircraft. Being a desolate island at the time, there was
not even a bridge to connect it to the city of Seoul. It was
obvious that one of the problems for the congregation would
be the means of travel to the island. However, through much
prayer by Pastor Cho Yonggi, he was assured that Yoido was indeed
the place which God had prepared. With this answer from God,
a piece of land was purchased in Yoido. Having purchased the
land, the problem of funds necessary to build a church became
a hurdle. The great amount of funds required seemed an unsurmountable
obstacle. However, Pastor Cho Yonggi who believed in the miracle
of God forged ahead with his burning desire to build a church
From the laying of its foundation, the church faced many difficulties,
including the immediate problem of securing the funds. Coinciding
with the Middle Eastern "oil shock", the exchange
rate of the Korean won to the dollar plummeted, sending the
cost of building material to a new high. Added to this external
negative factor, the church also faced a drop in tithe income.
Many of the members of the church lost their jobs as a result
of the "oil shock", and the banks which had loaned
the funds to the church lowered the credit rating of the church,
causing the debt repayment to be a heavier burden on the church.
As the pressure increased, the construction of the church came
to a halt, a truly devastating situation. Pastor Cho Yonggi
began going out to the construction site, grabbed hold of the
bare iron bars which stood like the skeletons of the building,
and began praying to God nightly. "Oh God my Lord! It would
be better if these bars fell on me and released me from this
turmoil." Rain or shine, Pastor Cho Yonggi kneeled on the
empty rice sacks and cried out to the Lord.
One by one, those who shared faith in God's plan and providence
began joining Pastor Cho for the nightly prayers. With the passage
of time, the prayers to save the church began to build momentum.
Then, one member brought to Pastor Cho Yonggi the proceeds from
the sale of his gold and jewelry possessions. This became an
impetus for other members to also offer the church the proceeds
from the sales of what they had sold. Such faith, love and devotion
to God and the church made it possible to repay the debts and
complete the YFGC.
The first worship service at the now YFGC was held on August
19th, 1973. On September 18-22, 1973, the 10th Pentecostal World
Conference was held at YFGC and the Hyo-chang Stadium with 50,000
Koreans and 5,000 foreign guests in attendance. On September
23, the inaugural worship service of thanks was held at the
church with 18,000 church members in attendance. With this service,
YFGC entered into a new era.
Following the relocation to Yoido, the church in 1977 grew to
a membership of 50,000 persons, a mere four years after the
completion of the church. The growth continued and reached 100,000
by 1979. Along with the numerical growth in number, the church
also began to transform in other ways, including further expansion.
On January 20, 1977, the 10-story world Evangelical Center (currently
the First Education Building) made its appearance. Then on December
31, 1981, the 13-story Second Education Building was built.
This building also contained a television studio which handled
the broadcast of the worship services both domestically and
In March of 1973, the O-san-ri Prayer Mountain in memory of
Pastor Choi Jashil was founded. Since then, many Christians
have come to Prayer Mountain to fast and pray, receiving the
Holy Spirit and experience Divine Healing as well as finding
solutions to their individual and personal problems. This prayer
mountain was named the "O-san-ri Choi Jashil Prayer Mountain"
to honor Pastor Choi Jashill who had devoted her life to the
founding and the growth of the YFGC from its very inception.
Currently, along with the main sanctuary which was completed
on July 4, 1982, there are countless numbers of private prayer
rooms and 12 other smaller sanctuaries.
Two years following the growth of the church to a membership
of 100,000 on November 4, 1979, the church grew to a number
of 200,144 members on November 30, 1981. To celebrate such wonderous
growth, a special worship service was held inviting Mr. Daemus
Shakarian, the president of American Full Gospel Association
of Business Owners. The L.A. Times reported on the growth of
the church to 200,000 members and emphasized the YFGC as the
largest church in the world.
With the growth to 200,000 members, Pastor Cho Yonggi began
to establish independent churches around the country. One important
point to note is that all such independent churches which were
established eventually became the largest churches in their
areas. This was not only true for the churches which were established
domestically, but also for the churches which were established
abroad. The servants of God who were sent out by YFGC or the
foreign pastors who attended the C.G.I (Church Growth International)
conferences all were blessed greatly by God and experienced
a wondrous growth in their churches.
Having reached 200,000 members, the growth of the church never
stopped but continued until the membership reached 400,000 by
October of 1984, making YFGC the fastest growing church in the
world. The growth continued to 500,000 in 1985, and to 700,000
in 1992. Even though Regional Chapels began to be established
in the early 1980s throughout Seoul's many districts and wards,
becoming independent churches with certain freedom of autonomous
control draining the membership of YFGC continued to grow to
700,000, which testifies to the work of the Holy Spirit.
In the 1980s, after the establishment and the inaugural service
in 1973, YFGC entered into a phase of reconstruction to enlarge
the capacity of the church. With the completion of the building
expansion in May of 1986 of YFGC which had begun on January
22, 1983, the church was able to accomodate 25,000 individuals
for each service. In November of 1984, the 33-meter monument
of a cross and praying hands was built in front of the main
sanctuary, and in 1985, the sculptured external wall of the
church's facade was added.
In September of 1992, Pastor Cho Yonggi was elected as the chairman
of the Executive Committee of the World Pentecostal Assemblies
of God Fellowship now known as the World Assemblies of God Fellowship
which had a membership of 30,000,000 members among 60 nations
of the world. The election took place at the 16th Pentecostal
World Conference which was held in Norway from September 9th
to 13th, 1992. Up to that time, the Assemblies of God were in
the control of the American leadership, but with the election
of Pastor Cho Yonggi, the main impetus of the Holy Spirit movement
was passed on to Korea.
A religious periodical in America, the Christian World,
placed YFGC as the first among the "50 Great Churches of
the World." Along with this honor, YFGC was honored as
the church with the largest congregation in the world by the
Guiness Book of World Records, and a ceremony was held
at the Hilton Hotel Convention Center to commemorate YFGC entering
the Guiness Book of World Records.
The Full Gospel Educational Research Institute was established
to educate lay members and to promote Full Gospel theology.
It was renamed the Young-san Research Institute in August of
1990. In March of 1993, it expanded again and became the International
Theological Institute, a specialized theological research institute.
ITI was founded to further develop and promote Full Gospel theology
and adopted the motto, "Think deeper, wider and forward,"
and actively supports the dispatch of evangelists both educationally
and financially, it became an "assistant" to Pastor
Cho Yonggi's ministry of evangelism.
In March of 1996, a collection of Pastor Cho Yonggi's sermons
were printed. The 21-volume series was published throughly the
Seoul Logos Company, and it contained the messages which Pastor
Cho Yonggi delivered during his 40 year ministry. A night of
honoring Pastor Cho Yonggi's publication of the collection of
sermons was held at the Crystal Ballroom of the Lotte Hotel
on the night of March 14th. The function was attended by former
Deputy Prime Minister Han Wan-sang, former Prime Minister Chung
Keun-mo, the Chancellor of Yonsei University Song Ja and other
notable figures of Christianity in Korea.
Church Reaching Out to the World
The establishment of the Full Gospel American Mission Association
in March of 1976 provided Pastor Cho Yonggi with an opportunity
to spread the Gospel throughout the world. In April of the same
year, the European Mission Association was formed, followed
by the Japanese Mission Association in August of that year.
In September of 1977, the Full Gospel Central Church built a
Full Gospel Theological Seminary in the United States, in the
city of Los Angeles, in West Germany's city of Berlin in July
of 1977, in the city of New York in February of 1978, in Kobe,
Japan in April of 1978, and in the city of Chicago in April
of 1980. The aim of the theological schools was the nurturing
of those who would serve God. Then in August of 1980, a Graduate
School of Theology was built in California.
Since taking the first step toward world evangelization in September
of 1964, Pastor Cho Yonggi has ceaselessly striven and continued
to devote his efforts toward world evangelization. In January
of 1981, Pastor Cho Yonggi was invited to the congratulatory
celebration of the Inauguration of the 40th president of America,
Ronald Reagan, and was honored to deliver the message. The honor
of doing so confirmed Pastor Cho Yonggi's establishment as a
truly internationally recognized pastor.
Not only has Pastor Cho Yonggi gone out in person to evangelize,
he has also invited many foreign servants of God and church
leaders to provide them with an opportunity to learn about church
growth through direct experience and study. On November 4th
of 1976, for the promotion of church growth, a research department
was established and was given the name CGI. Since its birth,
CGI has held over 250 seminars attended by 6,800,000 people
from throughout the world. As such, CGI has taken the role of
leadership in promoting the growth of churches all across the
Meanwhile, YFGC also continued its focus toward world evangelization
through countless publications of sermon collections, recorded
messages on tapes, and broadcasts of worship services. Domestically,
Pastor Cho Yonggi's Friday, Saturday, and Sunday messages were
broadcast regularly through the MBC affiliate broadcast stations
in Taejeon, Kwang-ju, Jun-joo and Masan. Internationally, Pastor
Cho Yonggi's sermons were carried through the broadcast stations
in Los Angeles, CBS in New York, and through the Gingki and
Sun Broadcast stations in Japan.
In addition to the 12 domestic radio stations which send out
Pastor Cho Yonggi's sermons through the airwaves, Pastor Cho
Yonggi's sermons were carried through the radio airwaves in
New York, Dallas, Houston, and Washington.
In 1994 during the 1st World Assemblies of God Fellowship Congress,
a grand prayer rally was held on Octorber 3 at Yoido Square.
Throughout the world, 30,000,000 Christians from 25 countries
simultaneously participated in this grand prayer rally. On the
day of the world prayer rally, over a million Christians gathered
in Yoido Square necessitating a simultaneous interpretation
of the messages in Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, and Indonesian,
Swedish, and English.
On February 7, 1996, the 2,000 Jerusalem Celebration was held
at the birth place of our Jesus Christ, Jerusalem. The celebration
memorialized the coming of Christ 2000 years ago and also the
reign of King David 3000 years ago. From 31 countries around
the world, 5000 Christians came to celebrate the event.
Since July 28, 1996, through the use of the first Korean artificial
satellite, the "Mu-keung-wha," YFGC has been providing
a satellite broadcast of the worship services for not only the
affiliate churches in Korea, but also to the churches in Japan
and other parts of Asia. This has made it possible for church
members throughout Korea and Asia to participate in the Sunday
and Wednesday worship services simultaneously, paving the road
for greater promotion of the Five-fold Gospel and Three-fold
Blessing both in Korea and internationally.
As the world entered the 90s and with the advent and widespread
use of high speed, high capacity personal computers, YFGC has
not remained behind but has taken active steps to utilize the
new communication tool, the internet. "We shall cover the
world with the message of the Full Gospel," has become
the motto of the Full Gospel Internet Broadcast Station which
was launched on December 24, 1998. With its establishment, Christians
throughout the world are able to easily access information and
the Gospel provided by YFGC.
3.The Church for the People
On October 3, 1987, the Prayer Crusade
for the Nation and the People mobilized over one million people
at the Yoido Square notwithstanding the fact that the Crusade
coincided with a national holiday, and proved to be a truly
blessed event for all who attended. After the close of the crusade,
with Pastor Cho Yonggi taking the lead and one million gatherers
including those who organized the crusade, the mass of people
marched in an orderly manner toward City Hall, singing hymns
of praise to the Lord and chanting for peace. After the crusade,
all offerings given on that day were donated to charity to help
orphaned children live alone on their own.
On July 26, 1988, the Elim Welfare Town, the biggest such welfare
facility in Asia, was completed to help orphaned children or
those suffering from extreme poverty, and the citizens who had
nowhere to turn. The YFGC, which had the ideal of putting Christian
love to practice, ceaselessly provided welfare services to those
in need. In 1987, the governmental department of Social Welfare
officially recognized Elim Welfare Organization of the YFGC
as a welfare institute. The same year, with the support of 15
billion won from YFGC, Elim Welfare Town was built. Elim Welfare
Town covers a vast land area, the largest for any welfare institution
in Asia, and has the capacity to accommodate 500 orphaned children
providing them with job training, as well as 200 senior citizens.
On behalf of the document mission and the Gospelization of the
Korean people, the Kookmin Daily Newspaper was established on
December 10, 1988. The Kookmin Daily is the world's first daily
periodical with the emphasis on the Christian mind and ethics.
Also, as it was the voice of 12 million Christians in Korea,
it opened a new chapter in evangelism through mass-communication.
From its very founding, the Kookmin Daily has helped the needy
of the society, shared their pain and suffering, and taken an
active role in various drives such as the Aid for Young Men
and Women, the Aid for Africa, the Blood Collection Drive, and
the National Kindness Campaign.
YFGC also actively practices Christian love by collecting donations
to provide free surgical aid to children who suffer heart-related
diseases. On April 1, 1993, the charity work of the church was
recognized and YFGC received a plaque of appreciation from the
Office of Kyonggi Province. YFGC also had the honor of receiving
the award of highest honor at "The 1st Environmental Awareness"
on January 23, 1995, sponsored by the Korean Christian Environmental