Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Multiplying Churches in Japanese Soil.
My book was intended to be short and practical not an exhaustive treatise on church planting in Japan. Because it generates a bit of discussions and questions I thought I would include some frequently asked questions here.
1. Is this book your doctoral thesis?
A. No, this book is not; but a collection of my research, thinking, and church planting training materials related to the urgent task of church multiplication in Japan. Chapter six on “Leaders Reproducing Churches” is a summary of my doctoral research, but of course it was rewritten specifically for this publication.
Actually I have another book planned “Developing/Reproducing Leaders in Japanese Soil” “that will focus on leadership issues in the Japanese context from my doctoral project “Characteristics of Leaders Reproducing Churches in Japan.” That book will highlight leadership from a theological perspective, the practice and style of leadership, leadership and the culture of Japan, leadership in church planting and multiplication movements.
2. Are there reproducing and multiplying churches in Japan?
A: Yes there are lots of reproducing and multiplying churches in Japan. For my research for my doctoral program I wanted to study leaders who are reproducing churches. So I had to find several reproducing churches in order to study their leaders.
I developed a research definition of a reproducing church. Normally in Japan it takes 6 to 10 years to plant a new church. Of course this could happen much sooner, but this is more what you might call average. I figured if a church would plant two churches in 20 years that would not be too remarkable. So I established my definition of over three churches in in less than 20 years. For Japan this would be highly unusual but in other countries maybe not unusual. So I conducted research on churches and found well over 100 fitting this description. I stopped counting because I had enough to work with for my research. I was sure there were more but my goal was not to count churches but to study leaders. In fact, I studied just six church leaders of six churches in depth. Those six churches planted 62 churches in 20 years. One of them planted four churches in five years, another planted seven churches in 20 years, another planted over 20 churches in 20 years.
The difference between reproducing and multiplying: One generation of daughter churches versus multi-generation of daughter, granddaughter, great daughter churches, and so on.
So yes there are a lot of churches reproducing, and I believe (without firm data) that now (2019) there are even more than when I did my research several years ago.
3. How do you define a church?
A: In my book because I was describing other leader’s views of the church, I did not offer my own definition of a local church specifically. The book is more descriptive of leaders as they function in the church rather than a well-organized theological understanding of what a church is. Maybe I should’ve put a definition in the book. I’ve been working with and that there seems to fit Japan churches and allows for many different kinds of models that would it adapt to it that would fall under it. What would be the irreducible definition of a local church valid for all models in Japan? Here is a working definition that I have written elsewhere: A local church is a community confessing faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and following him by meeting regularly together for the teaching of the Word, fellowship, worship, and observing other biblical functions while serving and witnessing in their local setting.
MORE ANSWERS COMING …
Q Is there a church planting movement [CPM] in Japan?
Q In your book do you advocate a church planting movement [CPM] methodology as advocated by David Garrison and others?
Q Are there workers in Japan trying to develop church planting movements?
Q What would be necessary to have church planting movements in Japan?
Q What would a church planting movement look like if it happened in Japan?
Q Why are multiplying movements of church planting movements not happening in Japan?
Q What should we do to foster church planting movements in Japan?