【February 2018 No.396】Acting General Secretary’s Report: District Moderators Consider Issues of Church Evangelism

 It has been a year since I began writing these notes “Acting General Secretary’s Report” and this one will be my last. As of April 2018, Rev. Akiyama Toru, chair of the Commission on Ecumenical Ministries and pastor of Ageo Godo Church in Kanto District, will begin serving in the capacity of general secretary, so he will write “General Secretary’s Report”  for the next issue of KNL.

 During the second week in Advent, on Dec. 11-12, 2017, Kyodan district moderators gathered in Atami (Shizuoka) at “Heartpia Atami,” under the auspices of the Committee on Evangelism Strategy. The 26 participants from 16 districts began the conference by asking each other about the condition of evangelism in their respective districts. With the exception of Okinawa District, which did not send a representative, the district moderators shared reports on the condition of evangelism in their districts and the various issues they are facing. While urban and rural areas face different issues, together they face the common issues of declining numbers and financial pressures. They all came to a common understanding that these issues are not ones that individual districts can handle on their own but that these need to be dealt with by the Kyodan as a whole.

 Having received these reports, the second day of the conference centered on the response that is needed. Some moderators emphasized that there is no clear vision of who we are trying to reach, but we all were in agreement that it is not the Kyodan as a whole or the districts that are at the center of evangelistic efforts; it is the local churches. Thus, the increase of our evangelistic strength must come through local churches increasing their abilities and efforts. So, with the backing of the Kyodan and the districts, we hope to develop ways of encouraging and facilitating local church efforts to meet this need.

 Looking ahead, the Kyodan Mission Planning Conference will be held at Fujimicho Church in Tokyo, March 5-6. The theme will be, “What does Evangelism in Japan Mean in the Context of the Basic Mission Plan?” The Kyodan established its “Basic Mission Plan,” as based on its “Basic Theory of Mission” back in 1963, and it has not been modified since then. During the 37th General Assembly Period (October 2010–September 2012), work began on a “Revised Basic Mission Plan,” but the Kyodan as a whole has still made no decision on this. While the focus of this conference will not be on that per se, I believe that this is an important opportunity for us to reconfirm our basic direction as we consider anew what Japanese evangelism means in today’s context.

 The Kyodan has endured a long period of struggles, and while we have made certain gains in regards to our understanding of evangelism, we have also experienced loss in other areas. Reconsidering our “Mission Theory,” based on trust and the unity of a common confession of faith and the Kyodan Bylaws, is a critical need. It is my prayer that this will be a fruitful conference in fulfilling that end.

 May the grace and blessings of Jesus Christ be upon all of you abundantly in this New Year! (Tr. TB)

—Acting General Secretary Dohke Norikazu

Executive Secretary of General Affairs



 12月の初旬、アドヴェント第2週の11日(月)と12日(火)に熱海(ハートピア熱海)にて「教区議長会議」が開催されました。主催は「教団伝道対策検討委員会」です。のべ26名の参加の下、「互いに(伝道状況)を聞き合う」ことから始めました。16教区(沖縄教区を除く)の教区議長から、各々が準 備した報告書に基づき、(教区の)伝道状況と伝道課題について分かち合いました。都市と地方とで違いはあれ、「教勢の減少」と「財政の逼迫」は共通する課題であり、各教区の努力だけでは解決できない、全教団的な取組みの必要性が認識されました。

 二日目は、この報告を受けて協議がなされました。「福音を伝える対象」の具体的な姿が絞り切れていないという意見 がある中で、伝道する主体は教団でも教区でもなく各個教会であり、(教団の伝道は)詰まる所、各個教会の伝道力のアップを図らねばならない、という点では一致を見ました。今後は、そのための実践的で具体的な方法(教団教区の後方支援)についての討議が望まれます。

 3月5日(月)~6日(火)にかけて東京・富士見町教会を会場に「教団宣教方策会議」が開催されます。主題は、「日本の伝道をどう考 えてゆくか―宣教基本方策をもとに」です。教団は「宣教基本方策」ならびに、それを理論づける「宣教基礎理論」 を制定しています。(1963年)その後、改訂されることもなく今日に至りまし た。37総会期(2010年10月~2012年9月)より「改訂宣教基礎理論」の作業が始まりましたが、未だ全教団的に決議はされないままです。この会議では、そのことが主眼ではありませんが、日本基督教団として、「日本伝道」をどう考え、どのように進めてゆくかについて、基本的な方向性を再度確認する重要な機会となることを願っています。


 このニューズレターを読まれる頃は、新しい年が始まっていることと思います。皆様の上に、今年も、主イエス・キリストの恵みと祝福が豊かにありますように祈ります。 道家紀一総務幹事・総幹事代行

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