Friday: Inside Story – Healthy Church for the Rich

Healthy Church for the Rich

By Andrew McChesney, Adventist Mission

Kiyong Kwon, a business owner and church planter, chose an affluent suburb of South Korea’s capital, Seoul, for his second church plant. His first church, opened in a rural area four years earlier, was filled to overflowing, and he wanted a new challenge.

“When God first called me, I said, ‘I can’t,’” Kiyong said. “But after I witnessed God’s power, I became bolder.”

He reasoned that impoverished people can accept God more easily than the wealthy. He wondered how to share the gospel with those who have everything and decided that even the wealthy need good health. So, he opened the Bundang NEW START church and a vegetarian restaurant in an office building in the suburb of Bundang.

“I decided God’s health message is the way to share the last-day gospel”, he said.

The new church began organizing health seminars, cooking classes, and Bible studies.

Among the first attendees was a pharmacist who attended a weeklong health seminar and seemed to enjoy it. After the seminar finished, those interested in more information were invited to attend Bible studies on Daniel and Revelation. But the pharmacist did not come. Kiyong made some inquiries and learned that the pharmacist had taken a week of vacation to attend the health seminar. She didn’t have free time for Bible studies. So, Kiyong made audio recordings of the Bible studies and sent them to her.

“The woman was really shocked by what she heard, but she didn’t want to leave her Sunday church”, Kiyong said.

But the pharmacist’s mind changed as she continued to listen to the Bible studies. She began to think about keeping the Sabbath and worshipping at the NEW START church. As she pondered what to do, she began to suffer a bad headache. She worried that she might have brain cancer, but doctors couldn’t find anything wrong. Still, the pain persisted.

Finally, her 24-year-old daughter said, “Do you know why you have the headache? It’s because you know what’s right but you aren’t doing it. I’ll go to the Sabbath church with you.”

The pharmacist and her daughter showed up at church the next Sabbath, and they are faithful members today.

“From these kinds of experiences, I realize that this is God’s business”, Kiyong said. “Hearts are not changed because of anything that people do.”

Kiyong Kwon, 56, left, has planted three churches in South Korea. Part of this quarter’s Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help plant the first Adventist church in Sejong, South Korea. Read more about Kiyong last week.

Produced by the General Conference Office of Adventist Mission. Find more mission stories at


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Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons