GOSPELREST

John and Elaine Mehn

Archive for the 'Updates/News' Category

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!

??????????

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.

Category: For Prayer, Tidbits, Updates/News | No Comments »

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!” 

Category: For Prayer, Short Term, Updates/News | No Comments »

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.

Category: Updates/News | No Comments »

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.

Category: For Prayer, Tidbits, Updates/News | No Comments »

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.

Category: For Prayer, Tidbits, Updates/News | No Comments »

Harvest Workers

October 2nd, 2014 by John

14-09-01 Tokyo Mission Team and Mas

Japan Tokyo Team: (Front to Back, Left to Right) Jane Fischer, Elaine, Mary Lou and Tom Ellison, John, Ian Smith, and Mas Kobayashi

Two new workers arrived a few weeks ago to join the Japan team. One came for 6 weeks; one for a career. We are excited to have a new career missionary, one who felt the call to be sent, Ian Smith. Ian has a great passion for planting multiplying churches in Japan. Right now he is in full-time Japanese language studies, essential for in-depth ministry in Japan. Pray as he builds relationships with Japanese and our team and adjusts to his new home in Chiba Tokyo. His vision is to catalyze multiple gospel-driven church planting movements in Japan.

Mas Kobayashi is no stranger to Japan. He was born here but has lived over 20 years in Canada. We have lost count how many times he has come to work as a short-term worker. Thank you to our partner BGC Canada for sending him, again. In past trips he worked at the CPI Conference as a translator, served on two tsunami disaster teams, and helped Rengo churches. The last several times his focus has been strengthening pastoral leaders and churches. In Rengo churches a few are without regular pastors, some pastors have health struggles, and others pastors are just overworked without any sabbatical. Mas blesses these churches by taking the load off for a week or two so these pastors and churches can take a breath. Mas leaves Japan on October 16th after 6 weeks of ministry. Mas will probably return next year. Hopefully some of you would have joined him.

These two personally illustrate what Converge Worldwide Japan is all about: Starting and strengthening churches. We need more Harvest Workers in Japan. We need many more people just like Ian and Mas, both short-term and career. Converge Worldwide Japan is looking for ministry teams, interns for CPI, school teachers, music teams, child care teams, outreach ministry teams, performance teams and IT people for 1-2 weeks, 1-3 months and 1-2 years. Maybe you know someone who could come serve in the 2nd largest unreached people in the world and a strategic world nation. Maybe that someone is you! Please contact us for more information, info@gospelrest.com.

Category: For Prayer, Quake Relief, Short Term, Tidbits, Updates/News | No Comments »

Prayer in October

October 2nd, 2014 by John

Converge church label

 

GOD ANSWERED

  1. Thank you for the many people that responded to our financial appeals last month. Several increased their regular giving and many others sent in a one-time gift. We figure this will make up at least 1/3 of our deficit. More information is at GospelRest.com/give.
  2. The SOMA Seminar last month was great. Several are already applying the concepts.
  3. At John’s visit to Kansai (9/11) more showed up than expected. Things worked out in a miraculous way.

PRAYER PARTNER SPOTLIGHTS

  1. Pray for Love Japan 10/11-13 John Piper (see my post http://www.gospelrest.com/john-piper-and-japan/ ) and other key speakers will be coming. Pray that God would encourage and embolden his people.
  2. We are both mentoring a total of 6 people. We have never mentored so many at one time. Things are going well but pray as we adjust to this highly personal ministry.
  3. On October 29-30 about 60-100 key leaders all committed to multiplying the church in Japan will gather for a Church Multiplication Vision Festival. Pray that God may speak to each leader about bold risk-taking faith and we would be great listeners to the Spirit and each other. Many exciting things could come from this watershed meeting.
  4. We are very busy preparing for the CPI Super Seminars Nov 10-12. The Church Planting training and Gospel Renewal training we did earlier this year we will do at one time and in one location. Registration is now open and we are working on curriculum, various speaking situations, and coordination. Pray that God would bless all preparations.

Category: For Prayer, Tidbits, Updates/News | No Comments »

Typhoons

September 24th, 2014 by John

Normally in Japan they start numbering typhoons (hurricane, cyclones) at the beginning of the season. In the Caribbean they give them names like Hugo and Katrina Well this year I never started counting. Either we were gone for most of them, ignored them, or there just were not too many typhoons this year. Tonight a typhoon downgraded to a tropical storm will wend its way pass Tokyo up north. At most we will have 20-30 mph winds and rain. Grateful we have not had to batten down the hatches many times in our lives in Japan. But all our windows have serious storm shutters.

Category: Updates/News | No Comments »

John Piper and Japan

September 20th, 2014 by John

Many of you probably know him by his writings and Desiring God ministry. John Piper is probably the most widely known pastor in our Converge Worldwide association of churches. He has served on our mission board. He is a Biblical scholar, a mission’s statesman, and a pastor of an exemplary missional church. After the tsunami his church Bethlehem Baptist church sent several teams to work with us in Ishinomaki among disaster victims.

John Piper will be coming to Japan in October for 3 days of speaking events (with many other speakers). We have been waiting for this to happen. Of the 2.6 billion unreached people on our planet the Japanese are the second largest group with 127 million. Missions exists in Japan because worship does not. Pray for Japan, pray for more harvest workers here, pray for these meetings October 11-13.

Category: For Prayer, Quake Relief, Short Term, Tidbits, Updates/News, Video | 1 Comment »

New Ministry Video

September 8th, 2014 by John

Did you blink? Then you probably missed us. We were in the US this summer for a working vacation visiting supporters, friends, family, and doing some personal business. We had a great time visiting both Elk Grove Baptist Church and Temple Baptist Church in Rockford, IL. You can hear or download both of US SHARING THE MESSAGE “Click Send”. We also dropped in to Meadows Baptist Church, our home church and saw some personal supporters.

Well if you missed us, OUR NEW MINISTRY VIDEO was just published on YouTube. Designed to be shown in small groups and worship services, this four minute video made in HD shows us in our ministry settings sharing our kaleidoscope of ministries. Please view or download from our YouTube channel.

Category: For Prayer, Tidbits, Updates/News, Video | 1 Comment »