Healthy Churches Grow
One of the principles in Asian Access is that healthy churches grow. It’s why we spend so much time investing in key leaders’ personal walk with God and their growth in him. Because, when we are deeply embedded with Christ, we are naturally very fruitful.
Many of those leaders were on display in Tohoku (Northeast Japan) for a few days at Vision Festa, a gathering of pastors, missionaries and NGO leaders coming together to share God’s vision for Japan. I was deeply touched by them and many pictured in these photos are key partners of Asian Access/Japan.
They shared about Strawberry Patch Evangelism. That even small little strawberry plants are quick to reproduce because they shoot stems into the soil nearby and next thing you know you have an entire patch.
And, they shared about Pomegranate church planting where a single fruit has hundreds of seeds to spread around and start new fellowships.
Years ago, Pastor Chida, who is also pictured here (below, left), shared not only about strawberry patch evangelism, he also figured we need as many churches in Japan as they have Japan Posts. Basically, he felt inspired by God that in order to truly reach Japan, we would need churches on every corner and in every community just like you have post offices.
Today, there are less Post Offices due to the onset of the internet age, etc. but there are still many around the country. However, convenience stores are everywhere! So, now the vision is convenience store church planting.
If we can see healthy reproducible churches and pastors emerge, even bi-vocational pastors, we’ll begin to see an impact in the evangelism growth of Japan!
Pastor Chida asked the crowd that day, do you believe we can have 55,000 churches in Japan someday? The group was a tad quiet. You see, Pastor Chida had recently studied Japan finding that there are now 55,000 convenience stores in the country. But, given that there are only roughly 8,000 churches in Japan, everyone was slow to respond!
However, Pastor Chida said, those numbers aren’t counting the little house chapels that have sprouted up all over the disaster area. They don’t include the simple churches that have been emerging the last 5-10 years. He’s convinced that there may be more than 16,000 churches in Japan today.
I left inspired once again. Story after story of how God was working post-disaster and how many small fellowships (bible studies, house chapels, and even tiny little churches) have been started. It’s just like the strawberries and pomegranates mentioned above. Small, healthy churches are emerging all over the place and these are exciting days for the hope of Christ in Japan.
What a joy to see all of this emerging from within the Asian Access networks! Who would’ve ever imagined that a little engine like us could see such tremendous fruit: all from focusing primarily on growing healthy people, healthy pastors and healthy leaders. We say “Small is Big” as we focus, much like Jesus, in investing deeply in just a few at a time. He had only 12 disciples but he challenged them to reproduce when he left them.
Pastor Chida concluded our session saying,
“Let’s believe that God can start 55,000 churches in Japan.”
I don’t know about you, but I believe him! Why? Because I believe in a God of the impossible and I believe that Small is Big!
Do you believe? Will you join me in praying for Japan?
- Related: Aspens, Banyans, and Strawberries