【October 2019 No.404】From the General Secretary’s Desk: “Unto the Least of These” Places of Worship

The Kyodan’s most critical issue these days is that of structural reform. The organizational structure that has been in place since 1968 is facing numerous problematic areas, including the impact of its declining and aging membership, the need for effective evangelization of the younger generation, and the need to maintain financial stability. How can the organizational structure be revamped to function more smoothly within these realities while strengthening evangelistic outreach and reinvigorating the denomination? We are presently deliberating these issues in order to make concrete proposals to the 2020 Kyodan General Assembly.


To help revive the Body of Christ through such structural reform, we are endeavoring to activate movements to propel evangelism forward on a national scale, under the leading of the Word and the Holy Spirit. We are using  three slogans to give concrete direction to these movements:


1. Prayer Movement —Let us pray together;

2. Laity Movement—Let us proclaim together; and

3. Offering Movement—Let us present our offerings



As part of this effort, the third Sunday of each month is being designated “A Day of Prayer for the Promotion of Evangelism in Japan.” Likewise, we will encourage each district to identify churches with less people, which are also the only church in a rural town or city, so that we can pray for those churches and offer encouragement as we share in the issues they face.


Of course, struggling churches with low attendance that are the only ones in such rural towns and cities are not all alike, but they do represent the realities facing Japanese society, which has many depopulating areas — particularly in rural areas — along with a rapidly aging population in which only a small percentage are Christians. However, we can also see these situations as opportunities for the remarkable work of the Gospel.  At any rate, we want all our members to focus their prayers on such churches and their mission issues. By not focusing on places with great potential for attracting lots of people but focusing instead on seemingly evangelistically inefficient locations, there will be opportunities to see how the promises of God’s grace being poured out on the weakest places and Christ’s Great Commission to go into all the world will be fulfilled. We will see how the strength of the Kyodan’s nationwide network of bases of operation is maximized. (Tr. TB)

                                   —Akiyama Toru, general secretary



秋 山  徹




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