Pastor Yonggi Cho, South Korea’s megachurch founder dies at 85

Pastor Yonggi Cho: founder of world’s largest megachurch, dies

Pastor David Yonggi Cho, founder of Yoido Full Gospel Church, reputed to be the world’s largest megachurch is dead.

Yonggi Cho died Tuesday morning aged 85, his church said in a press release.

He was receiving medical treatment for a brain hemorrhage he suffered from in 2020 at the time of his death, the statement further indicated.

According to CBN, Cho was born in 1936 to a Buddhist family, but converted to Christianity at 17 when doctors told him he would die from a serious case of tuberculosis.

Cho credits God for his “miraculous” recovery from the disease.

“I will never forget God’s blessing and grace over my life, through which He chose me to be His Servant when I was just an insignificant child with lung disease, and He saved me by His grace through the atonement of the Cross of Jesus Christ, so that through prayer I might receive wisdom and preach by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit wherever He placed me,” Cho wrote in a statement on his church’s website.

Cho pursued ministry full time and graduated from Full Gospel College in 1956.

Two years later, he opened a tent church in Seoul, which later turned into Yoido Full Gospel Church. The church grew into one of the most popular megachurches in the world and boasts more than 750,000 members.

Yoido has more than 500 church locations across South Korea and has sent thousands of missionaries to countries around the globe, according to the church’s press release.

“All I did was offer my life just like the boy who gave the five loaves and two fish… I simply held on to the dreams that the Lord gave me, and it was He who grew Yoido Full Gospel Church to 750,000 members to become the World’s largest church,” Cho said in a statement.

South Korea has one of the world’s most robust Christian communities, and megachurches grew in popularity in the years following the Korean war.

Cho wrote several books, founded a Christian daily newspaper, and established a humanitarian organization, said the church release.

Cho’s wife died in February this year. They are survived by their three sons.