Mar 9

EE Works in Japan, Too: Churches Embrace EE After Earthquake, Tsunami posted by John Sorensen on Mar 09, 2012

The most powerful earthquake to ever hit Japan struck the island nation one year ago on March 11. The magnitude 9.0 quake generated towering tsunami waves up to 133 feet which rushed inland up to 10 miles. A total of 15,850 people perished in the disaster, which devastated the country and created a nuclear emergency that still threatens the population.

It’s in this environment of crisis, trauma, and grief that we’ve seen many churches start the ministry of EE. The effort there is being led by Pastor Tomo, a remarkable man who came to the Lord through EE while here in the states! He always wanted to tell Jim Kennedy how much he appreciated him starting EE. But Dr. Kennedy went home to be with Jesus before Pastor Tomo had the chance to tell him.

So in honor of Dr. Kennedy he decided to do the next best thing: start EE back in Japan. Everyone said that it wouldn’t work. But guess what? It did work! And Pastor Tomo’s church has become the fastest growing church in Japan. Pastor Tomo will now serve as National Director of EE Japan. Along with a family from Singapore and a couple from Australia, he is building a team with a vision to reach Japan with the Gospel through EE.

The need is urgent. Japan has 127 million people and just 8,000 Protestant churches. Church growth is anemic or non-existent with just one person added to a church by baptism on average per year. The number of churches in Japan, Pastor Tomo said, is actually expected to drop to 4,000 within 15 to 20 years “unless something truly revolutionary takes place and causes drastic change. I believe EE Japan is called to do this job!”

In an email late last year, he projected that his church in Kyoto would see 10 or 11 people baptized by the end of 2011. “Thank God for EE effectiveness!” he wrote.

Pastor Tomo recently held the very first EE leadership clinic taught in Japanese by a Japanese trainer using Japanese-language materials. Seven pastors attended the course which was, he said, “very successful.” Here’s what he told us:

The responses of the students for the first half clinic were tremendous. They all said they wished they had learned this when they were in seminary. They are all evangelical pastors but have never learned the skill of personal witness before.

One of the students is over 70 years old and had prostate cancer removed few years ago. He was the most expressive in the class. He shared many times in the three days with me that he was regretting not being able to learn how to share the gospel all these years. His church was always small and often reluctant about evangelism. He said he might have been able to see more souls to come to know Christ if he knew EE before. And I agreed with him. EE has arrived to Japan way too late. Yet, he and all other students were so excited with the possibility that EE might be the solution for the declining condition of their churches and denomination.

All these years, I often felt alone because I was the only one promoting EE in this country. Sometimes I was disappointed by critical ones who said EE was too counter cultural. Some would say EE was too old for anything. Some said I was to commit only to the pastoral ministry. But this week, I was completely redeemed. Seeing the faces of students full of new hope and joy, I was so confirmed that the Lord was definitely with us.

Watch Pastor Tomo share about what God has done in Japan through EE in this video.


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