Give

Give to a worker

  • Give
    A
    South Asia • NSW & ACT Branch • Tax Deductible
  • Give
    A (mentac)
  • Give
    Adam and Avril Friend
    Africa • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Adam and Helane Ramsay
    East Asia • QNNSW Branch
  • Give
    Adrian and Anita Lovell
    Bolivia • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Amy Stephens
    Argentina • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Andrew and Margie Newman
    Africa • QNNSW Branch
  • Give
    Andrew Buchanan and Abi Tandiseru
    Indonesia • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Anna Radkovic
    Africa • VIC Branch • Tax Deductible
  • Give
    Anthony and Trudi Elyard
    Africa • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    B
    Middle East • WA Branch • Tax Deductible
  • Give
    Bill and Linda Colyer
    St Andrew's Hall • QNNSW Branch
  • Give
    Brenton and Mel Kilby
    Africa • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Bruce and Libby Hayes
    Nepal • QNNSW Branch
  • Give
    Bryan and Sarah Haro Leon
    Ecuador • TAS Branch
  • Give
    C
    Middle East • NSW & ACT Branch • Tax Deductible
  • Give
    Chenny Thie
    East Asia • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Chris and Erin
    South East Asia • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Chris and Grace Adams
    South East Asia • VIC Branch
  • Give
    Chris and Julie Dean
    South East Asia • VIC Branch
  • Give
    Chris and Karen Webb
    Broome • NSW & ACT Branch • Tax Deductible
  • Give
    Chris and Kristy Galea
    Europe • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Chris and Stef Overhall
    Chile • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Colin and Catherine Puffett
    Europe • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Craig and Lisse
    Middle East • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Craig and Samantha McCorkindale
    Cambodia • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    D (mentac)
  • Give
    D and T
    Asia • SANT Branch • Tax Deductible
  • Give
    Dan and Marg
    Middle East • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Daniel and Olivia Webster
    Africa • NSW & ACT Branch • Tax Deductible
  • Give
    David and Beck McIntyre
    East Asia • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    David and Cathie Sandifer
    Europe • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    David and Jennifer Juniper
    Africa • WA Branch
  • Give
    Dene and Rachel Hughes
    East Asia • QNNSW Branch
  • Give
    Derek and Rosemary Snibson
    Darwin • VIC Branch • Tax Deductible
  • Give
    Derk and Susan
    South Asia • WA Branch • Tax Deductible
  • Give
    E
    South Asia • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Elizabeth
    Middle East • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Elle Bryce
    East Asia • QNNSW Branch
  • Give
    Emma Payne
    St Andrew's Hall • VIC Branch
  • Give
    Frances Cook
    Latin America • SANT Branch
  • Give
    Gavin and Megan Rosser
    Jordan • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Gillian Akers
    Europe • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Gillian Law
    Europe • QNNSW Branch
  • Give
    Gordon and Ruth Russell
    Nepal • NSW & ACT Branch • Tax Deductible
  • Give
    Howard and Michelle Newby
    Philippines • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Howard and Trisha Spencer
    Belgium • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    I
    South East Asia • VIC Branch • Tax Deductible
  • Give
    Ian and Jenny Wood
    Darwin • NSW & ACT Branch • Tax Deductible
  • Give
    J
    South East Asia • WA Branch • Tax Deductible
  • Give
    J and P
    Eurasia • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    J and S
    Central Asia • QNNSW Branch • Tax Deductible
  • Give
    Jason and Hannah Fairclough
    Europe • WA Branch
  • Give
    Je
    Middle East • NSW & ACT Branch • Tax Deductible
  • Give
    Jeremy and Jill Horrocks
    Cambodia • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Jim and Tanja French
    Europe • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Jo
    Middle East • NSW & ACT Branch • Tax Deductible
  • Give
    Joel and Tiffanie Atwood
    The Pacific • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    John and Deb
    Middle East • VIC Branch
  • Give
    Jon and Deborah
    South East Asia • VIC Branch
  • Give
    Josh and Nici
    South East Asia • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Josh and Steph Mackenzie
    North Australia • VIC Branch • Tax Deductible
  • Give
    Josh and Susannah Apieczonek
    Europe • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Jotham Booker
    Europe • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Julie
    South East Asia • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    K
    South East Asia • SANT Branch • Tax Deductible
  • Give
    K
    South Asia • TAS Branch • Tax Deductible
  • Give
    Karina Brabham
    Europe • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Keith and Marion Birchley
    Papua New Guinea • QNNSW Branch
  • Give
    Kellie Nicholas
    East Asia • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Klaus and Jude Hickel
    Europe • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Kylie Zietsch
    Africa • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    L
    Middle East • VIC Branch
  • Give
    L and C
    South East Asia • QNNSW Branch • Tax Deductible
  • Give
    Lachlan and Candy Grice
    St Andrew's Hall • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Lauren Raiter
    Europe • VIC Branch
  • Give
    M
    Middle East • QNNSW Branch • Tax Deductible
  • Give
    M
    Africa • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    M
    St Andrew's Hall • SANT Branch
  • Give
    M and K
    South Asia • VIC Branch • Tax Deductible
  • Give
    Maggie Crewes
    St Andrew's Hall • SANT Branch • Tax Deductible
  • Give
    Malcolm and Ainsley Purdey
    Chile • SANT Branch
  • Give
    Malcolm and Leanne
    South East Asia • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Martin and Julie Field
    Argentina • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Marty and Jenny Foord
    Singapore • WA Branch
  • Give
    Matt and Bex Ooi
    East Asia • VIC Branch
  • Give
    Matt and Jen Lim
    East Asia • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Matt and Lisa Pearson
    Gunbalanya • NSW & ACT Branch • Tax Deductible
  • Give
    Matthew and Ellen Tyler
    The Pacific • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Maurice and Amanda Jacobson
    Cambodia • TAS Branch
  • Give
    Michael and Jean Burke
    Africa • NSW & ACT Branch • Tax Deductible
  • Give
    Michael and Rani Grivas-Allison
    Belgium • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Mike and Karen Roe
    Africa • SANT Branch
  • Give
    Mike and Katie Taylor
    Africa • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Miriam Bradshaw
    Europe • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Morgan and Olivia
    Middle East • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Na
    South East Asia • NSW & ACT Branch • Tax Deductible
  • Give
    Nathan and Diane Lovell
    Africa • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Nathan and Maki Clapham
    East Asia • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Nick and Kysha Davies
    Latin America • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Nick and Rebekah
    South East Asia • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Pedro and Joy Oliveira Woolmer
    Latin America • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Peter and Terry Blowes
    Argentina • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    R
    Eurasia • QNNSW Branch
  • Give
    Ray and Sandy
    Middle East • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Rebekah
    South East Asia • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Rowan
    South East Asia • VIC Branch
  • Give
    Ryan and Lynne Verghese
    Africa • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    S and D
    St Andrew's Hall • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    S and E
    South Asia • VIC Branch
  • Give
    S and M
    Middle East • NSW & ACT Branch • Tax Deductible
  • Give
    S and P
    Middle East • WA Branch
  • Give
    Sam and Bec
    St Andrew's Hall • VIC Branch
  • Give
    Sam and Shan-Shan Chrisp
    East Asia • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Sam and Sharmila Budhathoki
    Nepal • WA Branch
  • Give
    Simon and Jessica Cowell
    Europe • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Steven and Sandra Parsons
    East Asia • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Taulama Siuhengalu
    South East Asia • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Tim and Olivia Mulherin
    Cambodia • VIC Branch
  • Give
    W and S
    Middle East • NSW & ACT Branch

General Worker Support

Select a Branch

Please select the branch you would like to give to. This refers to the CMS branch that will process your donation.

NSW & ACT

QNNSW

SANT

TAS

VIC

WA

Tax-deductible Workers and Projects

Select a Branch

Please select the branch you would like to give to. This refers to the CMS branch that will process your donation.

NSW & ACT

QNNSW

SANT

TAS

VIC

WA

Give to a Campaign

Select a Branch

Please select the branch you would like to give to. This refers to the CMS branch that will process your donation.

NSW & ACT

QNNSW

SANT

TAS

VIC

WA

  • Give
    Ramsay Schooling
    QLD & NNSW Branch
  • Give
    Aboriginal Missionary Work
    Tax Deductible • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    CMS Overseas Aid Fund
    Tax Deductible • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Indigenous Ministry in North Australia
    NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Aboriginal Missionary Work
    Tax Deductible • SA & NT Branch
  • Give
    CMS Overseas Aid Fund
    Tax Deductible • SA & NT Branch
  • Give
    Indigenous Ministry in North Australia
    SA & NT Branch
  • Give
    Aboriginal Missionary Work
    Tax Deductible • WA Branch
  • Give
    CMS Overseas Aid Fund
    Tax Deductible • WA Branch
  • Give
    Indigenous Ministry in North Australia
    WA Branch
  • Give
    QNNSW CoMP
    QLD & NNSW Branch
  • Give
    QNNSW Regular Giving
    QLD & NNSW Branch
  • Give
    Lasting Hope Appeal
    Tax Deductible • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Lasting Hope Appeal
    Tax Deductible • QLD & NNSW Branch
  • Give
    Lasting Hope Appeal
    Tax Deductible • SA & NT Branch
  • Give
    Lasting Hope Appeal
    WA Branch
Your Gift
View Your Gift
Please select a frequency
  • • Branch

Give to another worker from

  • Give
    A
    South Asia • NSW & ACT Branch • Tax Deductible
  • Give
    A (mentac)
  • Give
    Adam and Avril Friend
    Africa • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Adam and Helane Ramsay
    East Asia • QNNSW Branch
  • Give
    Adrian and Anita Lovell
    Bolivia • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Amy Stephens
    Argentina • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Andrew and Margie Newman
    Africa • QNNSW Branch
  • Give
    Andrew Buchanan and Abi Tandiseru
    Indonesia • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Anna Radkovic
    Africa • VIC Branch • Tax Deductible
  • Give
    Anthony and Trudi Elyard
    Africa • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    B
    Middle East • WA Branch • Tax Deductible
  • Give
    Bill and Linda Colyer
    St Andrew's Hall • QNNSW Branch
  • Give
    Brenton and Mel Kilby
    Africa • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Bruce and Libby Hayes
    Nepal • QNNSW Branch
  • Give
    Bryan and Sarah Haro Leon
    Ecuador • TAS Branch
  • Give
    C
    Middle East • NSW & ACT Branch • Tax Deductible
  • Give
    Chenny Thie
    East Asia • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Chris and Erin
    South East Asia • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Chris and Grace Adams
    South East Asia • VIC Branch
  • Give
    Chris and Julie Dean
    South East Asia • VIC Branch
  • Give
    Chris and Karen Webb
    Broome • NSW & ACT Branch • Tax Deductible
  • Give
    Chris and Kristy Galea
    Europe • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Chris and Stef Overhall
    Chile • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Colin and Catherine Puffett
    Europe • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Craig and Lisse
    Middle East • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Craig and Samantha McCorkindale
    Cambodia • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    D (mentac)
  • Give
    D and T
    Asia • SANT Branch • Tax Deductible
  • Give
    Dan and Marg
    Middle East • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Daniel and Olivia Webster
    Africa • NSW & ACT Branch • Tax Deductible
  • Give
    David and Beck McIntyre
    East Asia • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    David and Cathie Sandifer
    Europe • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    David and Jennifer Juniper
    Africa • WA Branch
  • Give
    Dene and Rachel Hughes
    East Asia • QNNSW Branch
  • Give
    Derek and Rosemary Snibson
    Darwin • VIC Branch • Tax Deductible
  • Give
    Derk and Susan
    South Asia • WA Branch • Tax Deductible
  • Give
    E
    South Asia • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Elizabeth
    Middle East • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Elle Bryce
    East Asia • QNNSW Branch
  • Give
    Emma Payne
    St Andrew's Hall • VIC Branch
  • Give
    Frances Cook
    Latin America • SANT Branch
  • Give
    Gavin and Megan Rosser
    Jordan • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Gillian Akers
    Europe • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Gillian Law
    Europe • QNNSW Branch
  • Give
    Gordon and Ruth Russell
    Nepal • NSW & ACT Branch • Tax Deductible
  • Give
    Howard and Michelle Newby
    Philippines • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Howard and Trisha Spencer
    Belgium • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    I
    South East Asia • VIC Branch • Tax Deductible
  • Give
    Ian and Jenny Wood
    Darwin • NSW & ACT Branch • Tax Deductible
  • Give
    J
    South East Asia • WA Branch • Tax Deductible
  • Give
    J and P
    Eurasia • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    J and S
    Central Asia • QNNSW Branch • Tax Deductible
  • Give
    Jason and Hannah Fairclough
    Europe • WA Branch
  • Give
    Je
    Middle East • NSW & ACT Branch • Tax Deductible
  • Give
    Jeremy and Jill Horrocks
    Cambodia • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Jim and Tanja French
    Europe • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Jo
    Middle East • NSW & ACT Branch • Tax Deductible
  • Give
    Joel and Tiffanie Atwood
    The Pacific • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    John and Deb
    Middle East • VIC Branch
  • Give
    Jon and Deborah
    South East Asia • VIC Branch
  • Give
    Josh and Nici
    South East Asia • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Josh and Steph Mackenzie
    North Australia • VIC Branch • Tax Deductible
  • Give
    Josh and Susannah Apieczonek
    Europe • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Jotham Booker
    Europe • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Julie
    South East Asia • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    K
    South East Asia • SANT Branch • Tax Deductible
  • Give
    K
    South Asia • TAS Branch • Tax Deductible
  • Give
    Karina Brabham
    Europe • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Keith and Marion Birchley
    Papua New Guinea • QNNSW Branch
  • Give
    Kellie Nicholas
    East Asia • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Klaus and Jude Hickel
    Europe • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Kylie Zietsch
    Africa • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    L
    Middle East • VIC Branch
  • Give
    L and C
    South East Asia • QNNSW Branch • Tax Deductible
  • Give
    Lachlan and Candy Grice
    St Andrew's Hall • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Lauren Raiter
    Europe • VIC Branch
  • Give
    M
    Middle East • QNNSW Branch • Tax Deductible
  • Give
    M
    Africa • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    M
    St Andrew's Hall • SANT Branch
  • Give
    M and K
    South Asia • VIC Branch • Tax Deductible
  • Give
    Maggie Crewes
    St Andrew's Hall • SANT Branch • Tax Deductible
  • Give
    Malcolm and Ainsley Purdey
    Chile • SANT Branch
  • Give
    Malcolm and Leanne
    South East Asia • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Martin and Julie Field
    Argentina • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Marty and Jenny Foord
    Singapore • WA Branch
  • Give
    Matt and Bex Ooi
    East Asia • VIC Branch
  • Give
    Matt and Jen Lim
    East Asia • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Matt and Lisa Pearson
    Gunbalanya • NSW & ACT Branch • Tax Deductible
  • Give
    Matthew and Ellen Tyler
    The Pacific • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Maurice and Amanda Jacobson
    Cambodia • TAS Branch
  • Give
    Michael and Jean Burke
    Africa • NSW & ACT Branch • Tax Deductible
  • Give
    Michael and Rani Grivas-Allison
    Belgium • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Mike and Karen Roe
    Africa • SANT Branch
  • Give
    Mike and Katie Taylor
    Africa • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Miriam Bradshaw
    Europe • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Morgan and Olivia
    Middle East • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Na
    South East Asia • NSW & ACT Branch • Tax Deductible
  • Give
    Nathan and Diane Lovell
    Africa • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Nathan and Maki Clapham
    East Asia • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Nick and Kysha Davies
    Latin America • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Nick and Rebekah
    South East Asia • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Pedro and Joy Oliveira Woolmer
    Latin America • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Peter and Terry Blowes
    Argentina • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    R
    Eurasia • QNNSW Branch
  • Give
    Ray and Sandy
    Middle East • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Rebekah
    South East Asia • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Rowan
    South East Asia • VIC Branch
  • Give
    Ryan and Lynne Verghese
    Africa • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    S and D
    St Andrew's Hall • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    S and E
    South Asia • VIC Branch
  • Give
    S and M
    Middle East • NSW & ACT Branch • Tax Deductible
  • Give
    S and P
    Middle East • WA Branch
  • Give
    Sam and Bec
    St Andrew's Hall • VIC Branch
  • Give
    Sam and Shan-Shan Chrisp
    East Asia • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Sam and Sharmila Budhathoki
    Nepal • WA Branch
  • Give
    Simon and Jessica Cowell
    Europe • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Steven and Sandra Parsons
    East Asia • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Taulama Siuhengalu
    South East Asia • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Tim and Olivia Mulherin
    Cambodia • VIC Branch
  • Give
    W and S
    Middle East • NSW & ACT Branch

General Worker Support

Tax-deductible Workers and Projects

Give to a Campaign

  • Give
    Ramsay Schooling
    QLD & NNSW Branch
  • Give
    Aboriginal Missionary Work
    Tax Deductible • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    CMS Overseas Aid Fund
    Tax Deductible • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Indigenous Ministry in North Australia
    NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Aboriginal Missionary Work
    Tax Deductible • SA & NT Branch
  • Give
    CMS Overseas Aid Fund
    Tax Deductible • SA & NT Branch
  • Give
    Indigenous Ministry in North Australia
    SA & NT Branch
  • Give
    Aboriginal Missionary Work
    Tax Deductible • WA Branch
  • Give
    CMS Overseas Aid Fund
    Tax Deductible • WA Branch
  • Give
    Indigenous Ministry in North Australia
    WA Branch
  • Give
    QNNSW CoMP
    QLD & NNSW Branch
  • Give
    QNNSW Regular Giving
    QLD & NNSW Branch
  • Give
    Lasting Hope Appeal
    Tax Deductible • NSW & ACT Branch
  • Give
    Lasting Hope Appeal
    Tax Deductible • QLD & NNSW Branch
  • Give
    Lasting Hope Appeal
    Tax Deductible • SA & NT Branch
  • Give
    Lasting Hope Appeal
    WA Branch
Total Gift

$0 / Month

Continue
20 April 2024

Who will lead next?


CMS missionary Dave McIntyre (serving with Beck) reflects on the challenges of developing new leaders in Japanese churches.

 

At a church in Japan, Mikiko felt it was time to hand over her leadership of the Sunday School, particularly given her advancing age. She thought that Ikuko would be a good replacement, given her commitment as a Sunday School teacher and her love of the kids. Mikiko consulted with the senior pastor and leadership committee and then had
a conversation with Ikuko.

Ikuko was reluctant. She felt ill-equipped to lead the other teachers. Not only this, but Mikiko had led Sunday School for well over a decade. Ikuko felt her own lack of experience keenly.

Ikuko eventually said yes, and is now doing an excellent job of leading the Sunday School ministry. But this handover to a new generation highlights some of the challenges of finding and training Christian leaders in Japan.

 

Finding the next leaders

One challenge is that there are simply fewer people to choose from than might have been the case in the past. Whether it’s looking for the next pastor, or for a Sunday school teacher or a finance team member, many churches have trouble finding leaders. Who’s next? There’s often no one obvious to take over, and numbers in many churches have plateaued or are shrinking.

There are both cultural and church reasons for this. Culturally speaking, Japanese people are less willing to participate actively in any religion, not just Christianity.

Nozomu Oimatsu, a lecturer at Osaka Bible Seminary, notes that there was a time up to about the 1980s when many churches got bigger. That is no longer the case. There is also now a problem of retaining young people at churches. Fewer young people attending means that there are fewer potential future kids’ and youth leaders, which increases the difficulty.

Those who are available to lead can be reluctant to do so, because of their anxiety around getting things right and meeting expectations. This is not just an issue within churches. Japan is a country where accuracy and having the right information is highly valued. Kids are encouraged to aim for 100 per cent in tests from an early age. 80 per cent is often the required pass mark in a test or exam. As well as this, Japanese people are concerned with licencing leaders and ‘experts’. Teachers need good qualifications and are held to high standards, which means that to take on such a role is—and is perceived to be—a weighty responsibility.

 

Teaching and leading: more than information transfer

This sense of responsibility plays out with ministers and church workers, who fall under both the ‘expert’ and ‘teacher’ categories. The word ‘church’ in Japanese, Kyõkai, means ‘a place of teaching’. The sermon and other forms of teaching are highly valued, possibly to the detriment of seeing church as the place where believers gather to be God’s people, encouraging and modelling the Christian life to one another (as opposed to relying mainly on expert input from leaders).

This point is reinforced by Fumikazu Chito, senior pastor at Crossroad Church Nishinomiya (where we are serving), who suggests that there can be an overemphasis on the ‘information transfer’ of the gospel, potentially at the expense of living out gospel implications. Fumikazo has suggested to me that pastors in Japan tend to be academically qualified leaders who can prepare sermons well. Other people at church feel they lack such qualifications and knowledge, and this can seep into a general attitude of “I can’t teach others.” Yet, even for those who have, for example, taught kids for a while, (think of Ikuko above) stepping up to leadership responsibility is daunting. Furthermore, could they then end up stuck in a position where they fail to meet the high standards and expectations of others?

Nozomu Oimatsu, from Osaka Bible Seminary, also mentions the Japanese attitude of Ninjũ (patience and submission). “You’re expected to respond to expectations as much as possible and not disappoint those, particularly those of the people above you,” he says.

For Japanese over the age of 60, submitting in this way made sense. People over 60 have experienced Japan when it was growing economically, and in many other ways, post-World War Two. Life was getting visibly better for everyone. For Christians in this older generation—often under the influence of missionary input—this sense of growth and success has had an impact on the manner of choosing church leaders. There was commonly an emphasis on a personal ‘call’ from God to be a pastor, and (having received this sense of call) ‘putting your hand up’ to volunteer for such a role. In a country that encourages many years of training under a master to perfect a trade, ‘putting your hand up’ because you felt you had the ‘call’ comes with complexities. It cuts across the common Japanese approach to becoming a leader.

Missionaries in Japan encouraging young people to put themselves forward in this way could not have foreseen such long-term complexities. In addition, it is helpful to consider the ‘call and volunteer’ approach in light of New Testament models. Jesus chose his disciples deliberately, not by calling for volunteers. Paul, following the example of Jesus, chose men like Timothy to take the gospel to the next generation of believers.

It would be fair to say that many younger Japanese Christians simply do not have any sense of a ‘call’. For reasons already mentioned, they remain reluctant to enter what they rightly see to be an extremely demanding role. The upshot is that there are fewer pastors in Japan than there were previously.

 

The importance of discipling

What next? Nozomu Oimatsu says that diversity of leadership really matters, which means encouraging different people in church to lead, who may not fit the mould of what leaders have looked like in the past. He says, “We need to talk about what the aims of church are, so that we can scrap the things we don’t need and start rebuilding.”

Fumikazu Chito believes the problem is a failure of discipleship, which he suggests is the main purpose of the church. “We need to take care of the people who come to us as disciples, then ‘unwrap’ them, finding the ones who can lead,” he says. Such a change of emphasis, argues Fumikazu, would be a fundamental shift for most churches in Japan, which currently emphasise the Sunday gathering and particularly the sermon, as the main way that the word
of God is taught.

As things like the pastor shortage force change, all leaders (not just pastors) are being pushed to think about how to raise up and mentor a new generation of leaders. Change, even healthy change, is often difficult. However, what leaders like Fumikazo and Nozomu are encouraging is a Bible-based vision. By considering the examples of Jesus and Paul, Christians in Japan and everywhere are able to re-evaluate the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of growing faithful disciples, who can in turn become leaders after God’s own heart.

 

GIVE

You can directly support CMS missionaries as they disciple and mentor Japanese Christians, to help raise up new leaders. Go here and find out how to give financially to this work.