When you think of church, what comes to your mind? Depending on your upbringing, background and current situation, many things positive or perhaps even negative come to mind. Ask a Japanese person what they think, and they aren’t sure. Church does not fit into their cultural vocabulary, so the easiest thing to do is just ignore it. And that’s what most Japanese people do. Even when invited to a church, they are hesitant to come. Unfortunately, the church in Japan has not done much to help get past this stigma.

When praying about how to make the church relevant in Japan, God gave our missionary team a two-fold strategy to target the felt need in Japan: depression, loneliness, isolation and suicide. For the last two years our team has been working hard to develop this strategy, and everything from the way we do church and ministry to the very place that we rented for our church has come into line with this vision.

CHOOSE LIFE
The first major area we developed was Choose Life, an online suicide prevention system that allows people to message in and talk to someone. We created a whole course in 3 languages (Japanese, English and Portuguese) to train church laypeople to be able converse with a suicidal person and offer them the hope of Jesus Christ — our Living Hope. Our first training graduated over 30 people ready to work the messaging system. As of August 1, the system has been up and running, gaining steam. Many people have already used it, connecting with church people and receiving the love of God.

PAZ COFFEE SHOP
The second major area, and perhaps and even greater stride towards changing the social mentality of church in Japan, is the opening of our very own Paz Coffee Shop. Developed by our team of missionaries with our coffee expert John Eisenmann leading the charge, we researched how to pull off a great coffee shop that people would love to come into, buy coffee and sit and chat and enjoy the atmosphere. The coffee shop would function during the week and then on Sundays would close to host the meeting of our Paz Church. Also the Coffee Shop would make money, pay the rent, provide good jobs and establish credibility as a legitimate business, opening the way for quick future expansion to new locations. Each new location would be a multiplication of our church as well as our business. With this model, if we multiply a church of 100 people every 3 years, we can reach all of Japan by 2050!

Paz Coffee Shop Grand Opening
On Saturday, September 15 at 2:00 pm we opened the doors of Paz Coffee Shop for business and invited everyone. People came in right off the street — thoroughly enjoying the Coffee Shop so much that many came back the next day for church as first time visitors. What a huge success! Watch the film below for some quick highlights from the Grand Opening.

In the weeks following the Grand Opening, we have seen a large influx of new people with a good number of people returning a second and third time. While we still have a lot to learn and adjust, we can already see that our big challenge now will be connecting people to the church. But even if we connect only one person a week to the church, our churches will multiply not just every 3 years, but every year! God is giving us Japan and we praise Him for it. And we thank you for your heart-felt prayers and support. Together we CAN win Japan for Jesus. By God’s grace we WILL win Japan for JESUS!

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Nov 01, 2018 | News

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