Church Planting news from Japan

After years of church-shrinking, Japan is becoming alert to church multiplication.

After attending a couple of Exponential Conferences, my friends launched “Hero Makers Japan.” Two weeks ago they hosted a seminar, expecting just 35 pastors to show up–more than 150 did. And, over half were under age 30 (a very big deal where the average age for a pastor is over 60 and the average age in the general population is now 47-years-old).

We saw evidence of perseverance as one church, founded by Americans in the 1950s, turned into a network of 19 congregations. That may seem slow in the U.S. but by Japanese standards it is a miracle. The kicker is a third-generation pastor/planter, from that church, named Yashua (Joshua) Hari. He’s becoming a strong voice in the movement toward planting churches in Japan.

This is crucial because Christianity is shrinking faster in Japan than in the United States. When I first began discipling young men (the people who launched Hero Makers Japan) thirty years ago nearly three percent of Japanese claimed to follow Jesus Christ. Today, that number is just 7/10ths of one percent.

We’re getting traction with the idea of microchurches planted on a freelance basis by people who hold a career apart from church. Please (actually) pray for Japan. This is the first really good news I’ve witnessed in many years. A Christian TV network which claims visibility in 100+ countries plans to air the conference in the late hours of the night. I’m attaching a five-minute clip to give you an idea of what we experienced in Japan. View it here.

As always, I’d appreciate comments in the box below…