Our Plan for Success
Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. (Jn. 15:5, ESV)
Our ability to succeed and ultimately, our ability to please God, is entirely rooted in how we trust and abide in Him. We define success by our obedience to the Great Commandment and the Great Commission and we measure it not by the number of converts made, but by the growing faith of those we disciple.
“Instead of asserting ourselves, we crucify ourselves. Instead of imagining all the things we can accomplish, we ask God to do what only he can accomplish. Yes, we work, we plan, we organize, and we create, but we do it all while we fast, while we pray, and while we constantly confess our need for the provision of God. Instead of dependence on ourselves, we express radical desperation for the power of his Spirit, and we trust that Jesus stands ready to give us everything we ask for so that he might make much of our Father in the world.” (Platt, Radical ch3)
More than simple plans for success, making strategies are our way of exercising stewardship over the opportunities God has given us. Thus, we will give it our all to accomplish the strategies written below, while at the same time hold our plans lightly. Proverbs 16:9 provides the proper perspective for us: “The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.” The purpose is to develop common structural guidelines on our team for each member’s individual and unique ministry style.
Church Planting Strategy
- Partnership: By partnering with like minded pastors and organizations, such as JECA (Japanese Evangelical Church Association), we see our gifts and abilities multiplied. Our Japanese coworkers provide insight to language, culture and church administration that is often beyond our capabilities. We in turn can provide energy, new ideas and opportunities to evangelize or counsel that would be closed to the Japanese.
- Scaffolding: Though we partner with the Japanese in planting churches, our role is not to be a pillar in the church, but to act more like scaffolding. We are there to help the building come together, but once it is complete, it’d just be ugly to leave it there. We will “come down” and allow the church to grow on its own. Once our support role is over, we will move on to a new work.
- Contextualization: We seek to learn all we can about the Japanese culture and incorporate those insights in our church-planting methods. We teach and model approaches and activities that can be effectively utilized by Japanese believers.
- Equal ground: We avoid missionary or sensei dependence through team-teaching or team-leadership approaches where responsibilities are shared from the very beginning. The Discovery Bible Method is a good example.
- Firm foundations: From the beginning, disciples will be trained to read and study God’s word, share their faith in Christ with others, and have a world-Christian mindset.
- Relationship-based: With limited language ability, passing out tracts and other literature, while statistically a “low yield” method, remains a legitimate way to evangelize, but our main focus for evangelism is through personal relationships. Likewise, disciples will be taught and encouraged to reach those in their natural network of relationships. Hobbies, jobs, neighborhood associations, kids’ school events, and other real-life, in-the-community venues provide excellent opportunities for evangelism.
- Temporary: We discourage any ministry model that fosters a mentality of dependency on us.
- Interns and mentors: We also want to disciple and mobilize new missionaries and new teams through Pioneers’ Edge and Venture programs.
Team Launching Strategy
- Develop a 2-year training program (2015): The KMC Program (now Launch Program) was designed to train all new incoming missionaries to Japan. This includes pre-field and arrival preparation (visa, bank, apartment, etc.), as well as on-field training (language school, culture classes, spiritual mentoring, etc.). We chose Fukuoka for it’s abundant language schools, ease of travel, and ease of living for foreigners.
- Form a Launch Team (2016): We recognized that teaching, mentoring, and launching new missionaries would require an entirely new team that is fully committed to this work. God provided for us by sending our Area Leaders to take over this vision and two of our team members have joined them to form the Launch Team.
- Mobilize (2017-): With the program complete, we are now looking for people to join the Launch Program. This is largely the Launch Team’s responsibility now, but all PI Japan teams are mobilizing people to the Launch Program. We currently have over 20 people in the pipeline who are raising support to join the Launch Program.
- Research and network (2017-): With the Launch Team focused on mobilization and training, the Fukuoka Team will focus on finding and developing partnerships as well as researching and promoting new potential areas.
- Launch new teams (2019-): Once the first class of Launchers graduate from their 2-year program, they will either join an existing team or start a new one. After completing our research and networking, we need to be there to propose different options available for partnerships and starting new teams.