Coming to Japan these days really doesn’t seem like a “foreign” experience for us anymore. Since our first meeting in the airport over breakfast in 2007, Dr. Makoto Fukui has not only become a partner and an advocate for mobilizing churches, he has become a friend, as have many other leaders and pastors in the Rengo association of churches.
How do you mobilize churches that are often small, typically unnoticed in their community, and often led by bi-vocational pastors? Pinnacle Ministries believes that can only happen if they do the hard work of assessment, engage community leaders and the people God has given them, and, develop a shared vision with effective strategies that lead to transformation.
Six pastors have been engaged in the Pastors’ School of Retool over the past year, under the leadership of Hikaru Kishio and Makoto Fukui. Monday they gathered at Tamagawa Christian Fellowship for Step 5 of the process. The spirit of the day was amazing as each shared the results of their assessments, including their NCD results, the SWOT analysis with their key leaders, and, the draft of their new vision.
The amazing thing for us is hearing the stories of what God is already doing since they began shifting their focus outside their church. One church lost their building just a few months ago, but during our session received a text confirming their miracle bid and financing for a new facility had been secured. Another church has experienced significant growth over the past five years and is expanding into new areas of ministry.
Each church is discovering creative ways to reach out into their community and boldly live out their faith. In the process, they have engaged the people of their churches in both assessment and planning, something which is new to their experience.
These pastors will be joining us in California the end of March to complete their training and present their ministry plans. From that point forward, it will be up to the leaders we have partnered with to lay the path for future mobilization as they engage the next school of pastors for Retooling.
Your prayers are so vital to this work! The challenges of ministry in Japan can be overwhelming and often lead to discouragement. But Jesus’ promise to build His church remains true, and these men and women believe in the power of the Gospel and the Holy Spirit to accomplish what they have been called to do.