(RNS) — The founding father of one of many world’s largest megachurches has died, based on information stories from Korea.
The English-language Korean Herald reported that the Rev. Cho Yong-gi died at a Seoul hospital on Tuesday morning (Sept. 14).
He was 85.
Cho, recognized in america as David Yonggi Cho, was the founding father of the Yoido Full Gospel Church, a Pentecostal megachurch whose members quantity within the a whole bunch of hundreds. The church’s web site additionally carried an announcement of his loss of life.
“He conveyed the gospel of hope to the Korean individuals who fell into despair after the Korean Struggle,” the church stated in an announcement. “He was instrumental in rising the Korean church, notably growing Yoido Full Gospel Church because the world’s largest church.”
Cho based the Pentecostal church in 1958, initially holding providers beneath a tent earlier than transferring to a ten,000-seat sanctuary in 1993, based on Christianity At the moment journal. The church would ultimately declare the title of the world’s largest church based on Guinness World Information, with near 800,000 members.
As many as 200,000 individuals attended weekly providers, drawn by Cho’s hopeful preaching and optimistic messages about a greater life.
Although membership has since declined to 600,000, it’s nonetheless the biggest Protestant church in South Korea, with 400 pastors and evangelists within the nation and 500 missionaries overseas, reported The Related Press. Protestantism is the largest faith in South Korea, adopted by Buddhism and Catholicism, based on 2015 authorities census information.
Born right into a Buddhist household, Cho transformed to Christianity, which he credited for his therapeutic from a critical sickness as an adolescent, the Yonhap Information Company reported.
“Faith is ineffective if faith can’t give hope,” Cho informed the radio program The World in 2017. “Folks started to swarm to the tent church, the poor individuals, they wanted to have hope.”
The congregation was recognized for dividing church members into small teams, also called cell teams, which met in houses beneath the course of lay elders, based on Christianity At the moment.
Cho retired as pastor of the Yodoi church in 2007. In 2014, he was convicted for embezzling hundreds of thousands from the church and obtained a suspended sentence. His son Cho Hee-Jun used church funds to purchase shares at inflated costs after which created false paperwork to evade taxes, based on Korean information stories.
Nonetheless, Cho remained a beloved determine and was named pastor emeritus by the church, which is affiliated with the Assemblies of God. Plenty of Cho’s sermons are posted on the church’s web site.
The English-language model of the church web site additionally features a greeting from Cho.
“All I did was supply my life identical to the boy who gave the 5 loaves and two fish,” the web site greeting states. “I merely held on to the desires that the Lord gave me, and it was He who grew Yoido Full Gospel Church to 750,000 members to change into the World’s largest church. That is totally a grace given to us by God.”
Cho, who’s survived by three sons, had been unwell since struggling a mind hemorrhage in 2020, based on the Yonhap Information Company.
A funeral for Cho can be held on the church on Saturday, the Korean Herald reported.
The Related Press contributed to this report.