Guess you know that I’ll retire from the church in November. When I do, Ruby and I will move to San Diego. One reason access to a group called Exponential.org.
While still traveling overseas, I will make (at least) nine trips per year teaching pastors in the United States to multiply churches. This is crucial as the population of Christ-followers is shrinking by comparison to the overall population. We need at least 2,700 net new churches per year to keep up with population. We’re getting just 390. Exponential aims to change that.
We’re Still Multiplying Churches
While other churches have spawned movements—Calvary Chapel and Vineyard churches, we are the only group still aggressively planting churches. The others slowed down for whatever reasons. It is because of this that I am fortunate enough to partner with Exponential.
At the recent Exponential West conference in Southern California, I got to teach or lead “conversations” 10 times in three days. It was a blast.
Mission Hope is investing in Fumi Chito from Nishinomiya, Japan. Because he has the horsepower (translated “young leaders) to plant lots of churches we’re sponsoring him to four events this year.
He came to Exponential West. He’ll also participate in a “learning cohort,” meeting in San Jose, Houston and New York. The events occur over the next seven months. MHI will pay for all transportation and hotels. The church Fumi pastors is very young, hence they lack money. We went to Japan hoping to disciple and release people like Fumi. He represents one of our best opportunities to see the baton pass to the next generation of church planters in Japan.
Randy Ishida represents an experiment in progress. He planted a “microchurch” in Honolulu several months ago. The group has already multiplied another. What is a microchurch? Think “house-church” that might not meet in a home. It is a free-standing congregation reaching into communities of people that wouldn’t be interested in the church which sponsors it. This is different from a home-group tied to a larger church. Our goal is to quickly reproduce microchurches.
Someone likened this to feeding an army. You would raise rabbits instead of elephants.
Randy buys into the theory. This is our first intentional venture into this opportunity. We’ve helped plant microchurches in the past, but not aggressively.
Randy has already helped launch one microchurch in Germany and another in Russia. He stays in constant contact with the leaders.
Aaron Suzuki and Stephanie partnered with Ruby and I to plant Hope Chapel Kaneohe (now Anchor Church) in 1983. Aaron and I along with Corey Grinder (my successor in Hope Honolulu). Kicked off much of the ministry in Japan. Mission Hope sends Aaron to Japan once each autumn while sending Ruby and I there every spring. Our role is to coach the many church planters we raised up in the past. The ministry there is healthy but only a few of the churches reproduce. We hope to change that.
Hope Chapel Honolulu
Because Exponential espouses the values and vision of Hope Chapel, Corey decided to send several key staff members and leaders to the conference in California. They came away with renewed vision—the church got its investment back. I was blessed that more people, from our church, saw what I actually do when I travel and teach.
Ruby and Me
While we’re moving away from friends, we’ll be closer to our daughter, Kelly and son-in-law, Travis. We’ll miss Hawaii after 34 years but see San Diego as an adventure.
Being closer to most of the places I travel will help as I turn 72 the day after I “retire.” It is exciting to embark on a new adventure at our age.
As always, thanks for supporting this ministry. Together we are changing history in many lands. This is the gospel in action!