Retirement age varies from country to country, but most of us, perhaps, envisage our future retirement as a time where we live life at a slower pace. A season when we’ll have more time for family and friends, do things we really enjoy, and perhaps travel a little more.
But for many Japanese pastors, it usually means a time where they move on from the church/es they have been pastoring to pastor another church in a different part of Japan. Some even go on to plant new churches in the more un-churched parts of the country. Many do so with very little financial means or material comfort. There are also some who do so despite battling physical illnesses or while being caregivers to sick spouses or parents.
This happens because there just aren’t enough pastors in Japan. Like the society, Japanese churches are feeling the strain of a greying population, and there are already many churches without pastors. Unfortunately, the situation will worsen in the next 10 years because more than 30% of Japanese pastors are already over 70.
These pastors see the need to shepherd the many congregations without a pastor, and to take the gospel to the many who still have not heard. Instead of retiring to a slower life, they offer their lives for the kingdom of God and are prepared to pay the price to serve the Lord.
For many Japanese pastors, taking the step of faith to serve God as a minister means committing to a lifetime of serving him and his people. It means putting the flock God has given them above their own comfort, interests, and desires. Their love for God, the ministry, and the people God has given to them continues to be a force revitalizing the Japanese church.
But the needs are great. Will you come too, and join with the Japanese pastors and Christians to build up the church and the kingdom of God in Japan?
Note about photo: This is a small rural church in Japan. Most members are 60 or over. The new pastor has recently “retired” from his church in Tokyo to come and serve here.
By an OMF missionary in Japan
Will you pray for Japan?
- Pray for new, younger pastors in Japan.
- Pray for elderly pastors who need to retire, but feel burdened for their country. Pray they’ll know God’s peace.
- Pray for churches without pastors and churches with elderly pastors, that the congregation members will step up and take on responsibilities within the church to fill the gaps.