Japan stretches over 1,800 miles from snowy Hokkaido in the north to the tropical Ryukyu Islands in the south. This island nation combines unique traditions with a modern first-world standard of living for an exotic, yet safe, experience.
Japan blends Shintoism, Buddhism, and ancestor veneration within their religious beliefs. Some refer to Shintoism, which originates in Japan, as the religion of eight million gods. The chief deity is the sun goddess, from whom the Imperial Family of Japan claims descent. The Buddhism of Japan has adapted to the Japanese culture and has changed considerably since it first arrived from China.
Less than half of one percent of the Japanese population claim to be evangelical, yet Japan freely allows Christians to worship and missionaries to come. The variance in mindset (Western vs. Eastern), the struggle of language, and the lack of basic Bible understanding create difficulties for sharing about God. However, we praise God for how He has worked despite circumstances.
God led Baptist Mid-Missions to enter Japan in 1949, and in 1953 BMM moved its center of work to Fukushima Prefecture, northeast of Tokyo. Gradually, the ministry of Baptist Mid-Missions expanded and opened new areas, including the Tokyo suburbs and Okinawa. Later, missionaries began churches in Chiba and Saitama prefectures and started a camp in Fukushima. Working in cooperation with Baptist Mid-Missions, missionaries helped form a Japanese mission agency, which has sent missionaries to Bangladesh and rural Japan. Missionaries also teach at Grace Baptist Bible School, which offers three-year and four-year courses for Bible, theology, and missions.
· Assist current church plants
· Disciple Japanese believers, teaching them to teach others how to disciple
· Strategically plant new churches
· Train new Japanese pastors
The Joshua Project estimates a need for nearly 2,500 workers for Japan. No matter what skill set a person may possess, God can utilize it for His glory. Everything from church planters to IT specialists can serve God in Japan, furthering the reach of the gospel. Parachurch ministries such as the Bible school, camp, podcast/video ministries, and English classes allow for using one’s God-given gifts. Ultimately, Japan needs more church planters and church-planting support to aid the Japanese in building up the church in Japan for God's glory.