John and Elaine Mehn

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Prayer March 2015

March 3rd, 2015 by John


  1. Thank you for praying for the CPI Leadership Team retreat last month. God really met us personally and corporately with vision, deep prayer, and encouragement.
  2. The JEMA Plenary meeting and the Rengo meetings last week all went very well. Relationships for ministry are growing and encouraging.


  1. 3/11 is the fourth year after the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Tokoku. During this time many have troubled feelings. Pray that the church would respond to this hopelessness.
  2. 3/14 CPI Gospel Seminar – Pray for Pastors Fukuda and Aoyagi as they lead training in this material in Japanese.
  3. 3/21 John will be the keynote speaker at the Japan Council of Philippine Churches “Bless Japan: prayer and worship concert. Pray for clarity and solid challenge for work in Japan.
  4. Our whole Converge Japan Team will meet for our Spring Field Council 24-26th. Please pray for the key decisions made there, our team fellowship together, and the Ellisons retirement party. Intercede for Elaine who is in charge of all local arrangements.
  5. Elaine has a very full month of outreach classes, mentoring, and meetings including KCS board meeting. Pray for strength and life balance.
  6. Pray for times of focused attention as John works on some major writing projects.

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FAQ: How can we help reach Japanese?

March 3rd, 2015 by John

Share Christ with the Japanese

  1. Reach Japanese International Students – Like other unreached people groups, Japan has one of the largest groups of international students in the US. There are many in our home state of Illinois and other areas. See this article. There may be Japanese high school exchange students in your area.
  2. Host an English Homestay through your church. Japanese can come to experience America for 7-10 days and spend time with you. You can partner through a church or Christian school in Japan.
  3. Start an English Bible study for Japanese in your area. A good place to start is placing a flyer in local Japanese restaurants. Not need to know Japanese. Japanese want to learn English.

Pray for the Japanese

Without the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Japan we will not see movements of God like historically in Korea and China. Prayer information on Japan is at Operation World, Operation Japan, and our website.

Partner with Japanese Churches

  1. Send a team on a vision trip to Japan. Visit Japanese churches and build relationships with them that may lead to ministry partnerships. These can be 2-10 people. There will be one Converge team and Acts 29 team next month.
  2. Send a ministry team to Japan. Many Japanese churches could use various English outreaches, children’s ministry, music/drama, and other outreaches.
  3. Invite some leaders to visit you and your church. Recently several Rengo pastors attended our Converge Transformation meeting in the US. Later they visited several churches in the Seattle area.
  4. Invite a team from Japan to learn and minister in your church. Japanese could have seminars on Ikebana (flower arranging), Japanese language classes, Japanese calligraphy, origami (paper folding), Japan pop culture (manga, anime), and many other things.

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Growing Leaders

March 3rd, 2015 by John

Both of us spend mElaine Prayer Group 2uch time with leaders both Japanese and missionary. One of our key objectives is to help grow transformational leaders for Japan. We would like to take you to some scenes over the last several weeks that involved growing leaders.


Spiritual Renewal Mentoring

One couple attended the Church Planting Institute (CPI) Conference in 2013, their lives were changed there from performance-based Christianity to a more grace-based orientation. They approached us for more intensive personal mentoring. As a result, they have been experiencing inner transformation in their hearts as well as changes in their marriage and relationships. This refreshing renewal is spilling over into their ministry. They both blessed others with their gospel testimonies at last November’s seminars and are potential trainers within our CPI movement. Like this couple, each month we mentor leaders in spiritual formation, continual renewal, growing in repentance, and faith development. Right now we are mentoring several missionary couples and individuals and one pastor’s wife.

Church Planting Coaching

  • A church planter from India recently began working in the area near our home. He approached John about mentoring him personally and with his new church plant. Recently they met to brainstorm about his vision to plant a gospel-centered church.
  • John serves in the Rengo National Mission Department as one mission partner. Currently there are 9 Rengo church plants in progress throughout Japan. Last week John met at a Church Planters’ Summit with these church planters to encourage and hear updates on their ministry.

Leadership Consulting

  • From time to time mission leaders ask John for some consultation on their overall strategy for planting churches. Just last week John met with a church planting couple working in Ishinomaki which was ravaged by the earthquake and tsunami 4 years ago. They wanted some feedback on their vision and strategy to plant churches in that hurting city.
  • A few months ago a mission approached John about consulting with their mission. Their entire mission team was contemplating a move to new area with a far-reaching new church multiplication vision. To birth an entire new church network in this new area, John is working with them to develop their teams’ vision, core values, and strategy.

Growing as Leaders

  • Continual mentoring others in spiritual renewal keeps both our hearts warm with the Gospel.
  • Just a few weeks ago John retreated with his CPI Leadership Team. The purpose was to coach, pray, and stimulate each other in our ministry vision and personal lives.
  • As we mentioned last month, we along with 4 others working in Japan, are involved in a Gospel Discipling Cohort learning how to disciple people in the gospel. We apply this to ourselves & others.

Continue to pray for us as we develop transformational leaders to multiply churches among the Japanese, the world’s second largest unreached people group.

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Rengo Pastors Celebrate 50 years

March 3rd, 2015 by John

Rengo 50thThe Rengo celebrates its 50 anniversary this year. There are many events planned this year including the big party in November in Tokyo. Recently 5 Rengo pastors went to the US for the Transform meetings in California. Read this article for more on these pastors and pictures of the event.

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FAQ Japanese Partners

February 1st, 2015 by John

Frequently Asked Question:

How do you partner with Japanese leaders and churches?

  • Elaine partners with our “home church” Crossroad church in a card making craft class each month. Participating are several new people and many who do not yet know Christ.
  • John signed up for another year as a cooperating missionary at the Nerima Baptist Church. This past year John led training for leadership, evangelism and missions.
  • Thank you for praying for the key meetings with the Rengo NMD meetings last month (see above).
  • John met last week with about 15 Japanese leaders from around Japan to plan another Church Multiplication Vision Festival this fall. These leaders come from many organizations and denominations. May Japanese vision expand and grow!
  • So you can see that our partnership with the Japanese involves partnering with individuals, churches, and networks of churches. Many of these we post on Facebook. In any event it involves drinking many cups of tea.
  • Come join us in partnership with the Japanese. There are many ways to partner with Japanese churches, organizations and networks. Check out our website GospelRest.com or Contact us.

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Gearing Up Feb 2015

February 1st, 2015 by John

Gearing Up Feb 2015

Get out your calendars, notepads, and spreadsheets. We plan for successful ministry. Preparation in any endeavor is crucial. Planning is essential preparation. We both have an ongoing process of planning, praying, and preparing for ministry ahead.

  1. We plan for multiplication. Much of our mentoring and coaching ministry envisions others who will multiply our leadership. Last month we finished key gospel renewal material with one young couple who could be potential trainers and mentors. And so we began some other curriculum to help them in this process. We need to develop leaders who are continually transformed by the gospel. People who can model and train are vital.
  2. We plan for We need to develop leaders who have growing faith and vision. In our church planting training we are concerned for the crucial “next steps” that each church planter will be facing. But we are also concerned that God would enlarge their horizons and believe God for new things. For many our CPI events does just that. Vision is an essential aspect of leadership.
  3. We plan for ministry impact. Recently we completed our Japan field plans for our Converge Worldwide team. We share these with our Japanese partners in the Rengo. Last month we had valuable meetings with those National Mission Department NMD leaders. Together we plan that God’s Kingdom would advance.
  4. We plan continually. So for us gearing up is a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly process that involves each other and often other partners as well. You can have a significant part is this whole “gearing up” process. You can pray for guidance, wisdom, and for the ministry relationships we have that they would be full of unity and vision with clear direction and roles.

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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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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.

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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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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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