Upon appointment at the 2012 Kyodan General Assembly, I was installed as the general secretary and began working at the office. However, my position as senior pastor of Tokyo Yamate Church will continue until Easter Sunday of 2013, so I have the dual responsibilities of local church pastor and Kyodan general secretary. I am experiencing the busiest season of my life due to this situation. I am either at the Kyodan office or at the church. As for my private life, whenever I am through for the day at either job, I just return home to take a bath, eat a meal, and go straight to bed.
Let me tell you about Tokyo Yamate Church. Tokyo Yamate Church stands in the midst of what is called “youth town,” where it is said that 400,000 people walk by everyday. The church facility can accommodate about 800 people, but in 2010 we crammed in 900 participants at the celebration of the 150th anniversary of Protestant Christian mission in Japan.
As I look back over my 18 years of pastoral experience here, I must speak about mission–the spreading of the gospel in this country. It is not an exaggeration to say that every minute it is possible to count at least 20 people in front of our church, walking along the street famous as the site of the Japan Broadcasting Corporation (Nihon Hoso Kyokai [NHK]) studios, so it is a very lively place. However, these are just people passing by, and almost no one comes into the church.
The church is open for Bible-reading gatherings three times on weekdays. We post posters for the gatherings and even stand on the street to invite people in, but as this has nothing to do with their purpose for being there—to shop or to attend an NHK event or a sporting event at nearby Yoyogi Olympic Center—we stand there in vain.
This may sound like mere complaining, but it is reality. It is even worse when the Christmas sales begin. From the end of October, huge evergreen trees are brought in from somewhere and Christmas music played that is much more beautiful and attractive than we, as a church, can perform.
Originally, the privilege of celebrating Christmas belonged to the Christian churches, so it is disturbing to see the proud faces of those people who usurp the beauty of Christmas for their own business ends. I, on the other hand, as a pastor, have been preoccupied with such thoughts as: “Will that high school student receive baptism this year?” and “Can the people who are elderly and have to travel for one-and-a half to two hours by train and bus make it to church on Christmas Sunday?”
Japanese Christians represent 0.7 percent of the total population and only maintain church membership after baptism for an average of one year and seven months.
Why is this so? Can we thus no longer expectantly to find sincere seekers after Christ? No. We should not grow weary. An evangelist will persevere. (Tr. BN)
—Nagasaki Tetsuo, general secretary
第三八回教団総会で指名された後、直ちに西早稲田の教団事 務所 で総 幹事 として就任し、業務を始めた。
だが、これはこれまでの東京山手教会牧師のまま、二〇一 三年 イ－ スタ －三月三一日までの任期が続いている関係で、
ということで、只今わたしは教会にいない時は教団にいる し、 その 逆で もあってこの過酷な日程にはこれまで体験しなかった超多忙中とい
では自分の生活はと言えば、この二つから解放されて家に 帰る こと が出 来るのは、ただ風呂に入って食事をし、
ところで、東京山手教会のことを言うと、此処は連日四〇 万人 の集 散は あるという通称「若者の町」
此処での一八年の牧師生活を振り返ってどうしても語らな けれ ば済 まな い問題はと言えば、やはり「伝道」のことだ。
確かに、連日分刻み最低二〇人は通るだろうと思われる教 会の 前の ＮＨＫ通りは、何時もその変のお祭り騒ぎである。しかし、
一週間の内、主日礼拝は除いてわたしは夜昼三回は、聖書 を読 む集 会を 続けている。その度にその集会の案内板は表通りに出す、
しかし、それは彼らの目的のデパ－ト・ショッピングか ＮＨＫ のイ ベン トか代々木オリンピックセンタ－のゲ－
なんだか泣きごとに聞こえるだろうが、この現実に更に輪を かけ て教 会の 神経を逆撫でするのが「クリスマスセ－ル」だ。彼らは、
もともとクリスマスの特許は教会の所有権のものでしょ う。そ の最 も教 会の大切の上張りだけをはぎ取るようにして、
だが、牧師としてわたしはその年クリスマスにあの高校生 は洗 礼を ウケ ラレルノカ。