I am graduating the seminary next month. But, I won’t leave here Nagoya, I will remain in the seminary as a staff. Also, I will continue the international ministry, being a full time staff of All Nations Fellowship. I am happy that God called me to stay current mission field in Nagoya.
My primary role as seminary staff is “to be a Japanese staff” in this seminary. But, you might ask me “I know you’re Japanese. What’s the point?” Yes, you’re right. But, to be a Japanese staff at Christ Bible Seminary is something important. Here are two things that I have the role as “Japanese seminary staff”
Christ Bible Seminary is established by Dr. Michael Oh and other missionaries about 5 years ago. Since our seminary is Non-Japanese founder seminary, the “color” is not Japan or Japanese. Most of the faculties are not Japanese, and many of seminary students have international background. It is good because Christianity is not Japanese religion or even American religion. It is “worldwide truth.” As we face to the biblical truth, the seminary existence with international relationship is very important fact. That’s why we want to raise young Japanese Christian leaders through seminary education with international environment. This is the part of God’s global mission.
Also, we want to develop our inner focus, the relationship between Japanese churches/Christian in existence and new generation ministry. Japanese Christian population is less than 0.22%. It means that Japan is definitely the mission field. However, it does NOT mean that there are NO Christians in Japan. In fact, there are about more than 280,000 Christians. It is not many, but there are! But, the fact is that the most of Japanese pastors and Church leaders are above 60’s and 70’s. And, the same situation is happening to the church members. Many of these churches are very traditional. Almost none of young generations. Moreover, there are many churches with no pastors, like “Sheep without a shepherd. (Matthew 9:36)”
The question is “Can you ignore these people?” “Is it God’s will to focus only the new generations?” “Can we justify our ministry with ‘Neither is new wine put into old wineskins’ (Matthew 9:17)”?
My answer is “No.” We just cannot ignore the existing churches and their people. They are indeed one of the body of Christ. “The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’ (1 Corinthians 12:21)” Rather, we want to connect each other as “fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God (Ephesians 2:19)” And, we want to help and develop their focus on the gospel from their traditions. Eventually, we want to build the one body of Christ.
Kenyan pastor, Oscar Muriu said during Urbana ’06, “Our goal is interdependence, not independence.” I believe that Japanese mission also needs to be interdependent, not independent. Japanese churches had been desiring for their independence from foreign missions for the 150 years of its history. As a result, there are strong formality to the traditions and legalistic tendency, but the luck of gospel and people in present churches. Interdependence and mutual collaboration are the necessary reflection of our history.
The world is being much smaller than before. Globalization is our reality. As the followers of Jesus Christ in the 21st century, we have to recognize this fact. At the same time, we should focus on our local. So, my role in the seminary is to be a bridge, connecting between local churches and seminary, also seminary and worldwide Christians. Another word, “Christian glocalization” is my job in the Christ Bible Seminary.