Multiplying Churches In Japanese Soil
by John Wm Mehn
Since the beginning of missionary efforts in Japan in the sixteenth century, the Japanese church has experienced periods of quiet flourishing and periods of intense persecution. Arguably, however, it has never managed to take root as a truly indigenous church-despite great effort toward that aim.
In Multiplying Churches in Japanese Soil, John Mehn asks the question: Why? What factors have contributed to the Japanese remaining largely unreached? Mehn examines the current state of affairs and then, with some careful analysis and case study, delves into effective models and leadership for planting churches in Japan that not only grow, but are also equipped to reproduce and multiply.
Within these pages, discover mission strategy, kingdom perspective, and hope for the church in Japanese soil.
About the Author
What people are saying
“I’ve known John for more than a decade and am thankful for his faithful gospel work in Japan. Now, I’m thrilled that many others can be encouraged and better equipped for church planting in Japan via his writing.”
Ed Stetzer, PhD, Billy Graham Distinguished Chair of Church, Mission, and Evangelism, Wheaton College
“Japan is known as one of the most resistant nations to the advance of the Gospel. And yet some Japanese churches are remarkably effective in planting new churches and reproducing fruitful ministries. What are these churches doing and what are the qualities of the leaders in these movements? John Mehn’s research discovers answers to these questions against the backdrop of the historic and current state of Christianity in Japan and by exploring various ministry models. Multiplying Churches in Japanese Soil is a welcome and important addition to our understanding of mission and church planting, offering insights that will be helpful and encouraging to Christian leaders everywhere.”
Craig Ott, PhD, Professor of Mission and Intercultural Studies, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
“John Mehn offers us here a unique contribution. This book combines various approaches that are often kept separate because of their individual challenges. Mehn’s approach is contemporary while drawing on historical trends and examples. This work is practical while drawing on biblical, theological, and principled discussions. Lessons from a wide spectrum of traditions—including Orthodox and Holiness, for example—feed a distinctively Evangelical fervor for church growth. The result is a passionate, encouraging, and faith-filled vision for how healthy churches can multiply in Japan like never before.”
Nelson Jennings, PhD, Onnuri Community Church, Seoul. Mission Pastor and Consultant, former missionary to Japan
“Japan has long been an enigma to missiologists. Despite centuries of Christian presence in Japan, Christians remain a tiny minority in a highly modernized—but also highly traditional—society. In this informative work, veteran missionary church planter John Mehn provides a helpful overview of Christianity in Japan today and suggests some very practical ways in which Christians can meet current challenges and opportunities, resulting in a new era of church multiplication.”
Harold Netland, PhD, Professor of Philosophy of Religion and Intercultural Studies, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, former missionary to Japan
“John Mehn has presented a comprehensive overview of important issues involved in church growth and multiplication in Japan. The final chapters are particularly helpful in showing some of the features that facilitate these processes today. Besides stimulating prayer for the Japanese people, I hope that this book will encourage many ministering among the Japanese to apply these practical insights in their local contexts.”
David C. Lewis, PhD, Fellow of the Royal Anthropological Institute and author of The Unseen Face of Japan
“The gospel has been in Japan for centuries, yet the Japanese remain one of the world’s largest unreached people groups. John Mehn has written an honorable work that examines Japan’s past and present realities that our Sovereign Lord is working through to build His Church. This book is an important contribution to missiological studies and filled with principles and practical guidance based on field research. With over 30 years of service in Japan, Mehn writes with both a scholar’s mind and servant’s heart, and offers hope for the multiplication of disciples, leaders, and churches among this great people.”
J. D. Payne, Ph.D. pastor of church multiplication, The Church at Brook Hills, and author of Apostolic Church Planting
From the Book
We will honestly take a hard look at the condition of the church in Japan while at the same time seeking new and fresh vision from God. Principles and practical guidance will be presented from ground-breaking field research. This book grows out of actual training courses and materials used in practical church planting training. Though not a church planter’s manual, this will give guidance to church planters and strategists on ministry models and leadership roles and style. Through many case studies and best practices, those burdened for church multiplication on Japanese soil will gain new hope.
This book is not about theoretical visions and dreams but about visions and dreams concretely realized. It is a new call to prayer and a call to use God’s spiritual resources to face the challenges of Japanese culture with a new vigor towards an unprecedented wave in the number of churches. Fresh insights and ideas for innovative ministry will be presented that will stimulate readers’ thinking in new avenues and incite exploration of different paradigms.
The following chapters will include lessons, opportunities, potential, and possibilities to thrive in ministry and to combat the status quo. Through these chapters, the hope is for the reader to learn and experiment with some ministry innovations gleaned from history, to experience a shift of paradigms, and to strive ahead with new approaches and models. The end goal is to emulate those effective leaders and mobilize more for church planting. By means of case studies and research, the following topics will be explored in subsequent chapters:
Chapter One: Gospel Penetration in Japanese Soil. An external look at the progress of the Gospel in Japan. What are the main reasons for the lack of response?
Chapter Two: The Church in Japanese Soil. An internal look at the state of the church in Japan. What is the health and relevance of the Japanese church?
Chapter Three: Japanese Religious Movements. What were some growing church movements? And what lessons can be learned from some Japanese social and religious movements?
Chapter Four: Strategic Perspectives on Church Planting. For the establishment of churches and movements in Japan what strategic principles were applied in history? What are some current trends?
Chapter Five: Effective Models of Reproducing Churches in Japan. What church models are effectively reproducing churches? How can we apply principles from these models for more effectiveness?
Chapter Six: Leaders Reproducing Churches. What can Japanese leaders who are effectively reproducing churches teach us about leadership?
Chapter Seven: Future Challenges for Multiplying New Churches. What should be done to assure church multiplication in Japanese soil?