Research Project on Church Reproduction

In 2008, after collecting data from many sources, a list of over 60 potential reproducing churches in Japan was developed. These churches would have reproduced themselves at least 3 times in no more than 20 years. Most of these churches were surveyed and 6 representative churches were determined for further study.

Final research of these churches was to be as much as a cross-section as possible. These churches are located in 6 different regions of Japan (out of 7 regions). Two of these churches are independent and the others come from 4 different denominations. The mother churches were started from the late 1950s to just recently and at the time of the questionnaire were averaging 40 to 250 for Sunday attendance. These six churches planted a total of 62 churches since 1984, which means each church averaged 10 church plants in an average time span of 14.5 years. The total average attendance of these 62 church plants is 1244 or an average of 20 per daughter church. The mother churches are located in various rural and urban cities and suburbs. The churches daughtered were in both rural and urban areas.

The data from 43 church questionnaires sent and from 14 personal interviews primary and secondary leaders of 6 churches have been processed now to determine what categories for leadership characteristics have been found for these church reproducing leaders. The research project found that there were six interrelated characteristics of these reproducing leaders: God-given vision, risk-taking faith, an organic view of the church, developing lay people, encouraging leadership style, and aggressive implementation. Each of these characteristics has finer details. More information on these characteristics has been published in Missionary Methods EMS 21: Research, Reflections, and Realities.

Implications for this project will bring hope to the church, develop concern for foundational understandings, develop leadership, and reproduce the church. John’s future ministry will include informational writing, speaking, training, and further research. This will have vast implications for the Church Planting Institute and for his ministry with the Rengo and other churches and ministries.

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