The first CPI BootCamp for basic church planting training was November 16-18. About 50 participated from all over Japan, from Sendai to Okinawa. John thinks that the BootCamp was the most effective regional training CPI has ever done. At the last minute, a guest speaker from the Acts 29 Network cancelled so John and Dan Iverson had to do an additional session. For the first time publically, John presented some of his research and new material on effective church planting models in Japan. Thanks for praying it was a miraculous week of seeing God work in all 50 people.
In preparation for our CPI Leaders’ Summit last month on Gospel-centered Leadership I was reading and reviewing books on leadership especially the heart idols that leaders are most susceptible. (Elaine and I developed a list of heart idols that leaders often encounter). Good books have been Spiritual Leadership by Henry and Richard Blackaby (Experiencing God fame). Other good books have been Dangers, Toils, Snares, The Heart of a Servant Leader on Jack Miller and Overcoming the Dark Side of Leadership McIntosh and Rima.
I feel the real danger of the heart is when we are in a leadership position but we have allowed our spiritual and relational authority to erode. Without much heart left and diminishing trust (people notice) we then can only rely on defending our position which develops pride in its many forms and then we become uncaring and callous toward other people. That is when leadership is ugly, even ineffective as all trust has been undermined. Jesus was the best example of leadership and never lost compassion for others in the midst of leadership. He knew how to tell the truth with grace. May we always struggle as leaders and depend on him to keep and deliver us from the “dark side of leadership.”
Last week John met with a Japanese church planter. He told us that he was able in 18 months to gather 50 people in worship! As the average church in Japan is only 36, and if churches are able to break the 50 and 80 barrier fairly rapidly they will become large healthy churches. Another Japanese leader reported they have 17 church planting parenting networks throughout Japan and they plan to have 20 by the end of the year! This means 60+ churches are planning to have baby churches in the next three years! PTL! These are all people we can learn from and help many others through CPI.
Thanks for your prayers and encouragements over the last several months. We have been a whirlwind of activity including many key meetings and visitors. Several highlights have been the Retool Kit training in the US, Elaine’s LEADNet meeting, a great Japan Field Council, and the Velascos visit to the field.
Three people shared stories at the JEMA meetings how Japanese who attended years ago are using our CPI training materials in their ministries. One missionary between last November and last month has received from God a new vision for church planting and Japanese partners. What a turn around. CPI is playing a part in helping people on the frontlines of ministry.
We had a great but short visit with Dan and Sandi Peterson, district executive minister from Converge Midatlantic. There were many highlights including meeting with key Japanese leaders and discussing partnering in ministry. Pray that God would guide and bless Kingdom partnerships in the future. Thanks for coming Dan and Sandi!
The Hamamatsu Megumi Church is extremely encouraged that after a wait of 5 years they will be getting a pastor beginning in April. When John went to preach on Feb 21 they were all excited but also tired with the preparations. The pastor arrives March 16th. John will be participating in the March 21st service. Now John can go on to other Sunday morning projects and churches.
As you read this we are winding up our short working vacation back in Illinois. We return to Japan on 1/5. It has been frenzied being back but extremely good family times. Also on the work side have been possibilities for CPI in another Asian country, recruiting career workers, and recruiting ministry teams from a partnering church. We both hit the ground running when we return to Japan and there are various things in the works for the Rengo, the mission, CPI, and Elaine’s various classes.
Thank you so much for praying for last month’s CPI National Conference. A participant said, “The CPI National Conference at Fuji Hakone last week was truly a big blessing. It brought spiritual renewal, vision, fellowship, ministry training, among other things, to the participants” In spite of the economy and other factors about 300 adults and 85 children gathered this year to enlarge their Kingdom Vision for church multiplication and experience Gospel Renewal. Read the rest of this entry »
There are always several highlights at the CPI Conference. This time I was able to work it out to train in two sessions for missionaries in their first stages of church planting. Normally running the conference I have no energy or time for this. But God opened some opportunities and I love equipping and training church planters.
I had two sessions with 12-15 people each time. They were from nearly everywhere in Japan from Sendai in the north to Yamaguchi in the south and everywhere in between like Nagano, Nagoya, Tokyo. There were also 5 people from a Filipino church in Tokyo! One was still in Japanese language school. We discussed vision, calling, target group, philosophy and strategy.
What an opportunity to teach others what I have learned so they will not repeat my mistakes. So many church planters do not even know where to begin so we help them with solid training. We did receive some feedback on an evaluation form which is so encouraging to me. “John has done it and so he knows it. It is obvious John loves Jesus, the church and helping equip people…. John is passionate and pours out in what he shares. I am thankful ~ he shares content naturally.” Well I cannot wait to train the next batch. Several have asked me for coaching along the way. How exciting!
An entire seminary attended the conference. The president told me at the end of the conference they were all going home changed. They are considering making CPI part of their curriculum.
I talked to one Rengo pastor who attended and was trained and encouraged. He asked if he had to wait 2 years for the next conference. I said “no way” as we hope to bring more regional training to him.
The post conference, regional training in Tokyo was extremely effective with 5 tracks offered during the day. The training on the gospel renewal was very effective. Some Japanese commented, “Why hadn’t we been taught about how God’s grace affects our sanctification before!” One of the men who attended is a very influential leader through his publications. He was excited to be able to apply these truths to his work. “I’ve thought throughout the years that we need to emphasize grace more but have never been taught how to do this!” was his comment!
In CPI we continue to emphasize Kingdom vision for Church Planting and also Gospel Renewal. Both are blessing people in their hearts and their ministries. Thanks for praying and encouraging. Maybe you could send a team to be part of the conference in 2011.
Just released a new YouTube video to encourage prayer support for the CPI Conference Nov 3-6. This 1 minute 50 second video is designed to shown in churches. Please help us mobilize God’s people to pray for this important Japan National Conference by passing this along to whoever you can think about.
For public showings if you want a higher resolution file you can download