South Fukuoka

With a population of 1.6 million, Fukuoka City is both the largest city on the island of Kyushu and fastest growing city in Japan. But despite its size, there are relatively few evangelical, gospel-preaching churches. The South Fukuoka Team is working toward seeing people come to faith in Christ, leaders raised up, and healthy, gospel-centered churches planted throughout Fukuoka.

map of japan

Where are we?

We are currently focused on Sawara Ward, the largest ward in Fukuoka City. With the beach at the north and the mountains in the south, Sarawa Ward is a diverse setting and has many different groups of people. There are large universities, businesses, and hillside neighborhoods.

Team Ministries

Local outreach

Our team seeks to reach people for Christ by being salt and light in exisiting groups and communities. This includes connecting with moms and dads at the local school, joining a volleyball team, attending community center language classes, and going to the gym. We also host holiday outreach events.

Church planting with the local church

Our team’s vision is to sow gospel seeds, develop leaders, and multiply Christ-centered communities. We are currently working alongside a local church to disciple young believers, establish a culture of evangelism and multiply across the city into multiple communities of worship and witness.

Media ministry

We are praying toward and actively exploring creative ways to use media to communicate the gospel more widely and in appropriately contextualized ways.

Team Vision

The South Fukuoka Team exists to sow gospel seeds broadly, develop leaders and multiply Christ-centered communities in partnership with the local church.


Broad seed sowing

We want to sow the Word of God as broadly as possible, both in-person and online. Sometimes it’s just a brief testimony or invitation, and sometimes it’s an opportunity to explain the gospel more fully, but we believe every seed counts!


Leadership development

Our desire is to see more Japanese believers grow in their faith and for all kinds of leaders — teachers, pastors, elders, evangelists — to be trained and equipped for ministry.


Multiplying communities

Our long-term vision is to see a network of churches in Fukuoka Prefecture that faithfully proclaims and lives out the gospel of grace.

Team Values

Abiding in Christ

We prioritize our relationship with Christ by regularly being in the Word and in prayer. Apart from Jesus, we can do nothing (John 15:5).

Humility & teachability

We seek to listen carefully, admit when we’re wrong, and always be open to correction, knowing that God gives grace to the humble.

The local church

We value fellowshipping and serving alongside existing like-minded churches. We want to love, encourage and equip the local church in a mutually edifying, interdependent relationship.

Team Members

John and Elyse

John and Elyse came to Fukuoka in Sept 2016 as part of the first group of Launch Team members, before leading the Launch Team from 2018-2021. In Feb 2022, John became the TL for the South Fukuoka Team. In April 2022, John and Elyse began a formal partnership with Fukuoka Bible Church to encourage and equip believers there, with the goal of seeing a second church site established.

Eric and Claire

Eric and Claire came to Fukuoka in Oct 2019 as part of the Group 3 Launch Team. After graduating from the Launch Team in Dec 2021 they went on their first home assignment back in Kansas, USA to have their second child. Eric and Claire then joined the South Fukuoka Team in the summer of 2022 and began working alongside Fukuoka Bible Church to help coordinate and oversee the English outreach ministry.

Frank and Lynn

Frank and Lynn came to Fukuoka in August 2022 to serve for two years with the SFT. They were born in Pennsylvania but eventually moved to Vermont, which is where their home and sending church is now. After retiring, the Distlers wanted to give their lives towards the unreached. They are involved in hospitality, outreach events, English Bible studies, and men’s fellowship at Fukuoka Bible Church, as well as helping with the children’s track of the Japan Launch Team.

Get in touch if you’re curious about any of these programs or have questions for our team. We’d love to hear from you.