According to a recent study released by a Portland emerging church known as "The Seeking Place" (TSP), the least relevant churches in the world are the underground house churches in North Korea. TSP, which meets on Sunday mornings at a local Portland bar, began five years ago under the leadership of Peter LaFont, and started releasing the reports three years ago to help people understand what it means to truly be relevant.
"We think we've really got a handle on this subject," said LaFont. "We want to help others understand what true relevance really is."
According to TSP, the North Korean house churches are missing a number of "key opportunities" to connect to their respective communities and make the meta narrative of Scripture relevant to other North Koreans. They scored low on a number of points:
- No real outreach to the community (i.e. projects, fixing parks, promoting environmental awareness, etc.)
- Preference to meet in homes rather than public venues like bath houses, factories and central markets
- Excessive focus in prayer and Scripture. No real awareness of other seeker-friendly resources.
- Never heard of Rob Bell.
"We feel that if North Korean believers tried a little harder that they could make a real impact in their communities," commented LaFont, "doing things like feeding the poor, helping raise awareness about oppression and becoming more involved in social justice."
Other countries to perform poorly in the report were Iran, Pakistan, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia.