Are missionaries still needed in Japan? This is a question not infrequently asked by non-Japanese people. After all there is a Japanese church.
There are approximately 8,000 Protestant churches in Japan, but that is only 1 church for approximately 16,000 people. Eighteen cities and over 500 towns have no church. Many churches have fewer than 30 members and an increasing number of churches have no pastor. Baptisms may be rare. Aging congregations, plus difficulties in reaching men and the younger generation can give rise to doubts about the future of a church.
However, in spite of this, the church in Japan has a good reputation, and an influence greater than its size. Many Japanese Christians have sacrificed much to become church members, so they tend to be serious about their faith. They have a sense of responsbility and usually give generously. Increasingly churches are becoming more willing to try innovative means to reach people.
- Good cooperation amoung Japanese churches so they can share resources.
- Provision of pastors and training of lay leaders.
- A good relationship between missionaries and the Japanese chruch as they seek to reach Japan for Jesus.