You may have been part of a congregation that has grown and expanded to a point where you had to have the conversation, “Will we split into two congregations since we’ve grown a lot?” But there are also the times when one questions if congregations will need to join each other down the road. That has been a lingering question in the air here in Japan. This nation as a whole has a large elderly population and a lack of youth, and this reality is also reflected within the church. Most elders and perhaps a number of pastors may be retired in the next 10 years, and among the large population of age 70+ members, a portion may have gone to be with the Lord. But by God’s grace, the church as a whole still looks very steadfast.
In fact, if you were to drop by the seminary classes on Tuesday, Thursday, or Friday night you would find one of the RP pastors teaching around 4 students in any given class. This is a great encouragement when considering the future need for laborers in the church.
About 5 members (age 20-40) started meeting together at Higashisuma for encouragement and study, and Pastor Sakai is also aiming to do discipleship with them. The number of people helping with Sunday school has increased. It is a great encouragement to ask someone, “Would you like to assist with Sunday school on the Xth Sunday of the month?” This is a great opportunity both for the assistant teacher to learn and for the children to interact with others within the church. One member started making Sunday school videos for the kids to watch online and has asked other members to help with teaching those lessons. It has been an encouragement to see them gather together and to be working on those lessons together.
Overall there is a good number of young adults that are being discipled recently, and they likewise have been given the opportunity to disciple others. One thing that is lacking right now is young married couples and children.
- For the discipleship that God is bringing into the church
- For laborers to increase
- For the rest and continued strength of elders and pastors
- For God to bless the church with young families and children