GOSPELREST

John and Elaine Mehn

Looking Ahead in 2015

December 30th, 2014 by John

Looking back God orchestrated several new avenues for ministry that shaped what last year looked like. Along with our local evangelism, Elaine’s outreach ministries to women, partnering with Rengo churches and leaders, and leadership for the Japan mission God shaped some new openings for significant ministry development in Japan and beyond.

  • CPI in its 20th year embarked on several regional seminars training at least 300 leaders throughout Japan.
  • Several leaders came to us for spiritual mentoring and then several other leaders came for leadership mentoring. Our mentoring ministries swelled, for example, just in the first two weeks of December John met with three leaders for spiritual mentoring and five leaders for leadership coaching and mentoring.
  • John had several rounds of training lay people at one church. Training was in small group leadership and evangelism. He is also engaged in improving the small group climate in this church.
  • Our mission received a new career missionary, Ian Smith, after a long drought of none coming.
  • John was invited to become involved in the Global Church Planting Network to develop a national initiative for church planting throughout North Asia. This led to connection with the Vision Festival of key Japanese leaders seeking a church planting imitative in Japan.
Nengajyo 2015 small

2015 New Year’s Card

As we enter 2015 John will be engaged in a research project on lay church planting and a major writing project on Japan church planting. CPI will expand regional seminars, grow in leadership, and develop along several lines including our newly updated website www.JCPI.Net. We are anticipating probably our largest and best CPI National Conference this November. Please keep these developments in prayer throughout 2015.

We cannot but help to look ahead into 2015 with faith in God’s unchanging promises, hope in God’s resources, expectancy of even more fruitfulness, and anticipation of God’s Kingdom and Church expanding in Japan. Pray and watch with us. God is working.

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Begin 2015 with Prayer

December 30th, 2014 by John

GOD ANSWERED

  1. God blessed with great Christmas activities and events like the Christmas Tea., Agape Group party and others too
  2. Agape Group – There is growing enthusiasm among some who attend especially those who were resistant several years before. God is at work.

PRAYER PARTNER SPOTLIGHTS

  1. After spending some vacation in the US for Christmas, we return to Japan on Jan 1 and hit the ground running. Elaine resumes her busy monthly schedule.
  2. CPI has a round of church planting seminars (T4T) from Jan 9-17 on multiplying disciples, leaders and churches. Pray for interpreters and for good attendance.
  3. John starts a major writing project this month. Pray for lots of margin in his schedule to get off to a good start.
  4. John preaches at the Nerima Baptist Church on January 25th on Global Missions. Pray for impact.

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Regional Impact

December 1st, 2014 by John

Well you prayed and it happened. We were planning to have maybe 50 people at this year’s last Church Planting Institute (CPI) regional training seminar in Tokyo. When registration closed there were 98 listed. This made it the largest regional training seminar of this year, or any year. What a way to celebrate 20 years of CPI!

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We offered two seminars one on Church Planting Next Steps and another on Walking in the Gospel for Life and Ministry. The gospel renewal material is the backbone of all our training and one leader said he was “extremely blessed by the raw/honest sharing of the speakers.” Our daily emphasis on the private inner world of the church planter was very significant in the lives of those who attended.

As part of our development throughout this year, at this seminar we were able to raise up some new trainers as well as introduce some more relevant training materials. On a scale of 1 to 10, ten being highest, the training was rated over 9 for being practical and relevant. One church planter said, “I have a much clearer plan for the next two years in developing and launching this church.” Others felt they were given key next steps in their church planting process.

These events always generate new vision and plans. Of just the 11 people who responded to our survey they plan to launch 20 new ministries, start 34 new cell groups, start 8 new churches and deploy 8 more church planters! Please pray those would all be fulfilled and more vision would grow.

Both of us were very involved in the seminars. John taught portions of 5 seminars and Elaine taught one seminar and as a team member attended the entire gospel renewal seminar.

CPI has still more Next Steps to reach the least reached Japanese and develop transformational leaders. In 2015 we have more training planned including multiplication training from Ying Kai. As a result of conducting more regional training and raising up more trainers, several Japanese leaders will be leading a Japanese language only seminar in March on gospel renewal. In November 2015 we are planning our biennial national conference. We hope to highlight all our trainers and training at that time. So keep praying for God to bless CPI ministries.

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Prayer in December

December 1st, 2014 by John

GOD ANSWERED

  1. God was very good through November blessing the Rengo meetings and Church Planters Summit.
  2. Our fall Field Council was a great time of sharing and planning, and John’s preaching at Nerima was very effective.
  3. Elaine’s Christmas Tea as usual was a highlight for the ladies for the year.

 PRAYER PARTNER SPOTLIGHTS

  1. Keep praying, Elaine has a big charity party preparations for December 8th.
  2. Ask God to bless our relationships with the Agape Group when they come for a Christmas party on Saturday December 13th.
  3. Continue to pray for mentoring of various leaders and for key ministry meetings.
  4. Ask for God to grant us His rest as we will be in the US for Christmas, this time as pure vacation and time with our families.
  5. CPI regional seminars begin on January 9th on multiplying disciples, leaders and churches.

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Pray for Unreached Japan

December 1st, 2014 by John

For many years we have partnered in the CPI Leadership Team with Dan Iverson missionary with Mission to the World (a fellow JEMA member) of the Presbyterian Church of America (PCA). These are adapted comments from one of his letters…

     “The statistics for those spiritually lost in Japan make me weep. 70,000 new churches are needed. Is this “Mission Impossible”? These numbers here show why Japan continues to be listed as the second largest unreached people group (UPG) in the world. The 8,000 protestant churches (more than 8 times the number of Roman Catholic parishes/churches) might seem like a large number. But in the US Metro Atlanta alone has many more than that. With a population of 127 million, Japan has only one Protestant church for every 16,000 people (1/ 16,000). In the USA, one of the most reached countries in the world the ratio is 1/ 1000, with some places in the “Bible belt” being 1/ 300 or 1/ 400. Some might say that many of the churches in the USA are not good churches; but possibly many churches in Japan are also not solid churches, and the average size of these 8,000 churches in Japan is only 35.

      After World War II, General MacArthur called for 10,000 missionaries to come to Japan, but only a few thousand came. In 1983 there were 2,613 missionaries in Japan. In 2013 that number was down to 1,868, a 30% loss.  Southern Baptist (IMB) missionary numbers dropped from 159 to 46 over this 30- year period, and TEAM, the largest mission in Japan in 1983, from 195 missionaries to 60.  

     This incredible decline in the number of missionaries would not be so sad if all these missionaries had been replaced by a growing number of indigenous Japanese pastors.  This is the ultimate goal in good mission work. But tragically, the number of Japanese pastors is also rapidly decreasing. They are aging and becoming few in number.

      Some leading missions experts say that to “reach” a country, to get the gospel within reach of every person, we need one church for every 1,500 people (1/ 1,500). The USA surpasses this goal by 50%! Praise the Lord!  But for Japan to get to a 1/ 1,500 ratio we need about 70,000 new churches (factoring in that some of the 8000 existing churches will die). When we think that Protestant church planting began in Japan 150 years ago, yet there are still only 8,000 churches, this mission before us seems very impossible.

      Jesus said He would build His church.  Our mission is focused on church planting as the best way to reach Japan. Jesus commanded us to pray for workers as a means to this end (Matt 9, Luke 10). Please continue to pray for new career missionaries, and new Japanese harvest laborers in our Japan ministry. While many mission groups are decreasing in their missionary numbers, God has blessed and we have grown from under 15 in 1983 to over 50 today. Thank you for your prayers for laborers. Please continue to pray for many more. And for the even greater challenge of more godly, gifted Japanese ministry partners (and for the other evangelical mission agencies and churches of Japan).  If God raised up 20,000 new Japanese and missionary laborers it will still be too few for the task before us. Please pray with us.  Please prayerfully consider being one of those many laborers needed!” 

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If the World Were a Village of 100 People

December 1st, 2014 by John

A small book written for children by David J. Smith broke down the de-mographics of the world’s population into a understandable size for children to comprehend. Here is what such a village would look like: 49 would be female and 51 would be male. 20 would be children. Of the 80 adults, 14 would be over 65 years of age. There would be 60 Asians, 12 European, 14 Africans, 8 South Americans, 5 North Americans, and 1 from the South Pacific. 33 villag-ers would have cell phones and 18 would own cars. 30 would be unemployed and 53 would live on less than $2 a day. 80 would have sub-standard housing. 24 would have no electricity and only 33 would be able to read. One would have a college or university education while one would be dying of starvation. 17 would be undernourished and 15 would be overweight. 83 would have ac-cess to safe drinking water and 17 would have dirty, unclean water to drink.

33 people would know Jesus as Savior and Lord. 67 would not. Of the 33 people who know Jesus—only ONE would be telling others about Him!

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Pure in Heart

November 23rd, 2014 by John

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Matthew 5:8

If I am dependent on making my own heart pure, I am doomed. Even my best efforts are tainted with sin. This pure is not like Ivory Soap 99% pure. It is to be 100% to meet God’s standard. This I cannot do. But Christ died for my sins and for my self-generated good deeds as well. I need to run to the cross not just for forgiveness but for Christ’s righteousness. This is the purity that God demands.

As I rest in the finished work of Christ, I will find His purity working into my heart and life. This is not a just try harder purity nor is it a sit back and do nothing purity. It is trusting fully and letting the Holy Spirit move me out and do by His strength and to His glory.

by Elaine Mehn

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Church Multiplication

November 2nd, 2014 by John

Ever see a dream come true? Well last week I (John) did. For decades the Church Planting Institute (CPI) has been casting vision for church multiplication. Many training events have seen growing vision for new churches. But as of yet most of what we have done, even though many Japanese have been crucial part, there has been little Japanese leadership. The Vision Festa on October 29-30 changed the playing field entirely.

Mission FestaLast week 65 key leaders from throughout Japan gathered for the first Church Multiplication Vision Festival. This was led by Japanese, for Japanese, in Japanese (Only about 5 missionaries attended). Japanese leaders came from all over Japan from Hokkaido to Okinawa and many places in between to form a national network for church planting multiplication. Leaders were from denominations, organizations, movements and networks currently engaged in church planting multiplication. For example they were the Japan Church Growth Institute network (JCGI), the cell church network (JCMN), several house church networks, Redeemer Grace City network, Miyagi Mission Network, CPI, and others.

Many of these leaders had spoken, trained, or attended many CPI events. There were many young leaders in the room who we pray will develop into a new generation of Japanese leaders committed and engaged in church multiplication. Along with group discussions, 15 key leaders sketched church multiplication and the future of Japan and several case studies on church multiplication. One Japanese leader passed out some of my research on church multiplication models and leadership.

Along with my CPI Leadership Team I have been requested to join the other 15 leaders caring for this movement. We will be evaluating this event and meeting next January to determine the next steps in developing. We have not seen the entire dream yet fulfilled but then through developing leaders and growing vision together we know God will bless this for his glory.

The challenge is large in Japan, the second largest unreached people in the world with 126 million people. We all believe that by following God’sJohn Seita and Seima At Vision Festa vision we can multiply disciples, leaders, and churches. The goal is a national movement which is broadly evangelical and Kingdom-minded. Many leaders talked about a large national vision of 50,000 churches in Japan, far more than the roughly 8,000 today.

This event did not take place all of a sudden but it had been building this entire year. Many believe that the wind may be changing in Japan. Thank you for your continued prayers. Ask God to speak to each leader about bold risk-taking faith and that we would be great listeners to the Spirit and each other.

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Year-End Giving

November 2nd, 2014 by John

 

Some of you may be considering year-end charitable gifts. Consider giving to these needy projects. Give online at http://www.convergeworldwide.org/give

  1. John and Elaine Mehn, general fund. We still have a slight deficit for the current year. #49651.
  2. CPI special fund #31256 for helping Japanese attend church planting training and for developing online resources.

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Prayer in November

November 2nd, 2014 by John

John & Elaine Mehn CW PicGOD ANSWERED

  1. Thank you for your special prayers for the Church Multiplication Vision Festa (above).
  2. Last month’s Love Japan meetings with John Piper and Donald Carson went very well in spite a Super Typhoon coming through at the same time. One friend was very moved by John Piper’s message and could not believe God’s power.

PRAYER PARTNER SPOTLIGHTS

  1. November 3 and 4 are the Rengo national meetings followed by a one-day Church Planters Summit. John will participate in the group coaching of the church planters and share the closing message. Pray for us.
  2. The CPI Super Seminars are next week Nov 10-12. We will be doing Church Planting training and Gospel Renewal training. So far nearly 40 are registered. Both Elaine and John will be facilitating training. Pray that God would meet each and every one of us with his resources.
  3. Our Converge Japan Field Council is Nov 14 and 15. Pray as we do our annual planning.
  4. John preaches at Nerima Baptist Church on Nov 30th
  5. Elaine has a big evangelistic outreach December 1 with her annual Christmas tea.

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