RJC World

Reaching Japanese for Christ (RJC) is a network of loving Christians, primarily in Norh America, who are helping Japanese who are here temporarily.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Japanese and American Church Culture

At our recent trip to Japan I heard Pastor Katsuhiko Seino of Tsuchiura talking about the problems that new Christians have when they return to Japan. He shared an extremely important insight. He said that we must remember and teach that the basic Japanese and Western church cultures are different!

1. At times we hear North Americans say that most Japanese churches are dead and not healthy.

2. However, the truth is that there are sick North American churches as well as Japanese churches.

3. The main issue is that there is a basic difference in church cultures, which take the characteristics of the broader culture.

4. I don't remember all the differences, but here are some of them.
1) North American culture (and church culture) tends to be horizontal; Japanese is vertical.
2) NA is informal; Japanese tends to be formal.
First names or honorific titles
3) Those who experience large active churches come back to smaller churches with fewer activities.
4) Western learning tends to be by discussion, but in Japan lectures are the accepted method.
5) The Western method of debate and speaking the "truth" no matter what is different from the Japanese desire for group consensus.

5. It is important to prepare the Japanese as he/she returns. Perhaps they will remember the general cultural differences, but if they have never experienced Japanese church life, they will expect a Western church culture.

Lets toss away the idea that the Japanese church is dead. It is alive and well! Lets remember to prepare people as they return to Japan.

What do you think?


Saturday, September 22, 2007

Japan Trip

JoAnn and I just got back from Japan yesterday. After a good night’s rest we are just about able to pick up a pair of chopsticks or a fork and quickly determine which end to use.
I was able to attend a 24 hour long Japan Evangelical Association Missions Forum. One of the components was a discussion group called the Diaspora and The Church. “Diaspora” here means the Japanese who are spread around the world.

Here are some of the highlights that relate to RJC.
At the JEA Mission Forum there were 60 or so leaders. I was surprised and please that many were aware of RJC.
I was able to see a number of leaders who have spoken at RJC: Pastors Seino, Watanabe, Saoshiro, Gushiken; Setsu Kuroda, Masahiro Takata.
I was able to see several who will be coming to RJC. The newest one is Ichimura Sensei who represents VIP. He will be presenting the VIP ministry and principles for reaching Japanese men. Pastor Seino will be the main speaker at the Southern California RJC Conference in January.
After the JEA meeting I was able to visit the JEMA (Japan Evangelical Missionary Association) Executive Committee. We talked a little about RJC and also presented the Operation Japan CD project. This is to put on CD all of the material that has appeared in the Operation Japan book, plus pictures and internet connections. They were very positive about this project.
Masahiro Takata also volunteered to be more active in the RJC Academy preparations. If you have not joined the Yahoo Discussion Group, I would encourage you to do so. Go to Yahoo.com, open a free account, and then go to RJCNetworkTraining, and sign up.