Japan Churches Should Grow, But … Mitani Article

The Church Should React to Needs and Change from an Inward Focus to an Outward Focus

Today good will toward Christians is increasing.  Research has shown that, of those who might like to have faith, 30% would choose Christianity.  This was the highest ranked choice.  Over 60% of weddings are Christian style weddings.  According to Gallup research, 23% felt that Christianity is a good religion.  The Elijah kai did some research and found that 27% read the Bile.  People responded that Christians are sincere, trustworthy and warm.  People have a good image of Christians.  If over 10% of the people around us have good feelings toward Christians, then why is only 1% of the population Christian?  …

Today the church in Japan has a lot of problems According to my business thinking, nakayoshi kurabu is the reason we cannot break through the 1% barrier.  Pastors take such care of believers that the church becomes a clique (nakayoshi kurabu).  Such an in-group gradually builds up a strong barrier.  Christians lose relationships with the people outside their group.  They lose friends outside the church and then it becomes difficult to witness.  This is the inward focus of Japanese churches.

All growing churches are outward focused not inward focused.  Inward focused churches change nothing. They do things the way they have always done things. They keep the old order.  Growing churches aggressively stop this tendency to maintain the status quo.

There are 99% non-Christians.  More than 10% among them have an interest in Christianity, but their needs are not being met.  In-grown churches are the cause.  As a church, they are working hard.  The pastors are working hard.  The believers are working hard.  They are very earnest.  They are working within a framework they have made.

From Yasuto Mitani, “The Church Should React to Needs and Change from an Inward Focus to an Outward Focus” CIS News, Fall Issue, September 2007, No. 69 page 5.  Used by permission.  The article is also published in Japanese and originally from a presentation at the Church Information Service seminar in March 2007. 

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