The Japan Union Conference has asked Dr. Ron Clouzet, ministerial secretary of the Northern Asia-Pacific Division (NSD), to lead out in a field school of evangelism for 2017. This is perhaps the first time, or at least the first time in long decades, that this type of project will take place in Japan. The field school will not be limited to public evangelistic meetings, but will be a comprehensive plan spanning 10 months.
Organizational meetings took place with pastors from the West Japan Conference and the Okinawa Mission in the city of Osaka from January 19 to 21. In Tokyo, organizational meetings took place with the pastors of the East Japan Conference, and then, a second meeting with about 150 lay leaders from various Tokyo churches. The meetings were held at the Amanuma Church, a large church associated with Tokyo Adventist Hospital. The last meeting was transmitted live online to other churches throughout Japan. Two weeks later, Dr. Clouzet addressed all the pastors in Japan.
The first major training weekend will be from March 10 to 12, 2017. It will focus on personal evangelism as well as specialized training for effective prayer intercession on behalf of those who do not know Christ and His Word. Part of the prayer training will deal with the formation of prayer-walking teams (see page # in this issue). With so many people in Japan who do not know Christ—more than 99%—serious intercession must be done for everyone we see walking in the streets, living in apartment buildings, riding the subway, or eating at coffee shops. Dr. Clouzet is writing an instruction manual, and the hope is to have it ready for March.
Other evangelistic training events will follow in April, May, and July, on how to reach out to former members, how to give effective Bible studies, and how to form missional small groups.
In April, Dr. Clouzet will hold a week-long revival meeting at Amanuma, and other churches will be able to join online. The revival will focus on the work of Christ and the Holy Spirit, and the hope that is ours for real, lasting change in our lives. Late in August, the participating churches will begin 40 days of special prayer leading to the start of the evangelistic meetings.
Each participating church is committing to doing at least three outreach events in the next nine months. The events, meant to help church members make friends with non-members, can be stop-smoking clinics, vegetarian cooking schools, English language classes, or Vacation Bible Schools, among a number of other options. In September, a major pre-harvest event will take place. This will most likely be a series of five lectures on worldviews and Christian apologetics aimed for the secular person who does not even believe there is a true, personal God.
Finally, the evangelistic meetings will be held between October 6 and 28. Dr. Clouzet will present 20 or more topics over a three-week period at the Amanuma Church. Churches will have the choice of being satellites to Amanuma’s meetings, and be live online, or conduct their own set of meetings for at least 10 nights. Evangelistic visitation training will take place during those three weeks, and resources will be made available to all those who attend. Simultaneous children’s meetings will also be encouraged. At the end of the series, the last training event will implement a mentoring and assimilation program for new believers, one that has proved to be very successful in the past. The expectation is for the participating churches to experience true revival, a renewed sense of Adventist identity, and more commitments to baptism than typically seen.
About a dozen churches have made an initial commitment to participate. Other will perhaps follow. This concept of process evangelism is largely unknown or not practiced in Japan. Thus, the first challenge is for churches to actually commit to something they’ve never done before. Each will sign a 12-point agreement to participate. It will take courage. However, this plan is founded on very solid, very biblical, principles and has been successful elsewhere. God will surely bless all those willing to test God on these things and move forward in faith that He will do what we cannot do ourselves.