John was in Mongolia in late September where he explained to about 40 leaders why networking for church planting has helped church planting in Japan and Asia. These words are from his greeting:
“I’m John Mehn director of the Japan Church Planting Institute. Japan has a population of 127 million people and Japan is merely 0.45% Christian. We need help planting churches. Do you ever need help planting churches?
A few years ago a friend who was a former missionary in Japan, now working in Singapore, contacted me. He said, “John there is this organization that could really be a big help to Japan.” I told him I had never heard of Global Church Planting Network (GCPN). But he convinced me to go to Indonesia that year as they had a regional seminar for Southeast Asia where leaders from 11 countries got together. In the meeting they were grouped by country tables dreaming, strategizing, and praying for every one of those 11 countries in SE Asia. They were helping each other in very practical ways, such as one country would send their trainers to another country to train. One country developed really good church planting materials and the other countries were asking if they could translate them. They were even sending missionaries to various countries in SE Asia. They were advising each other and praying for each other.
I went home and said wow GCPN can really help us in Japan! But at that time there was no regional group in North or East Asia. I met with several other leaders who said “Let’s change that, let’s start our own region for NE Asia.” So we organized, then met in Indonesia, then in Japan in 2017, last year we met in Macau, and this year we met in Mongolia. We had meetings from Tuesday to Thursday where 35 leaders met from Japan, Taiwan, S. Korea, Central Asia, Russia, and Mongolia. We had several people that weren’t able to be here because of visa problems.
Today one leader shared about the benefit it was to be working together in a network like this. He said you get the big picture of the entire country and what needs to be done as you work together. Also they develop unity between all the different groups to work together. It is incredibly encouraging working across not only denominational lines but national lines. And we could do training together.
So we all need help, don’t we? We have basically just started the NE Asia network. I and others are dreaming for a network like SE Asia where we are sending missionaries to each other, sending training, and helping each other all the time. Because, for the Kingdom of God, we are Better Together.”