Megachurch Growth in Korea: With Special Reference to Gwacheon Presbyterian Church

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This is a study of megachurch growth in Korea with particular focus on the Gwacheon Presbyterian Church (GPC). The megachurch phenomenon, and its rapid growth, is no accident. It has come about through numerous factors—internal, external, biblical, spiritual, and sociological in nature. Healthy church growth is connected to a strong sense of spirituality, the will of God, and other influences from society at large. All of these elements are thoroughly discussed in this research.

This study attempts to answer the following key questions: (1) What role do Korean megachurches play in the nation’s religious landscape? (2) What makes the megachurch model so successful in recruiting and retaining a large number of members? (3) What factors contribute to its sustainability and propagation?

In order to answer these questions, I examined various theoretical doctrines outlined in secular and sacred sources. Additionally, empirical evidence, a case study, surveys, and statistical methods were employed. Regarding methodology, I combined both quantitative and qualitative methods to evaluate the phenomenon of church growth. Qualitatively, I conducted a case study of GPC, interviewing key leaders of the church; and content analysis of church materials. Quantitatively, two questionnaires were utilized in 2008 and 2010, and the data was statistically analyzed by Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS), focusing on factor analysis. The factors contributing to megachurch growth—based upon senior pastor leadership influence, internal and external influences, and evangelism movements—were statistically verified as showing significant correlation. This research effort will attempt to integrate theoretical doctrines outlined in secular and sacred sources with empirical findings derived from the case study, survey and generated statistics.

This work consists of seven chapters. Chapters 1 and 2 provide biblical and theological perspectives on church growth. Chapter 3 discusses contextual variables contributing to megachurch growth. Chapter 4 discusses the methodology of the research. Chapter 5 identifies specific growth factors and trends derived from the survey data, focusing on factor analysis and Analysis of Moment Structure (AMOS). Chapter 6 discusses findings and interpretations based upon the data analysis, and the Conclusion states recommendations for future paradigms of church growth in Korea.

Mentor: Timothy K. Park

Degree Name

Doctor of Missiology (DMiss)

First Advisor

Park, Timothy K.

Document Type





Gwacheon Presbyterian Church (Korea), Church growth, Big churches, Korea (South)


Missions and World Christianity


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