"Youth Evangelism" Topic of Education Committee Consultation

The first consultation between the Kyodan’s Committee on Education and missionaries serving in Japan was held on May 18, 2010 in the Kyodan’s conference room in Tokyo.
In his opening greetings, Chairman Kuroda explained the purpose of the meeting: “Since this is our first meeting together, I would like to hear from each of you about your work and any suggestions you may have.” Missionaries who engage the younger generation on a day-to-day basis offered various suggestions. Evangelization of the younger generation was the main concern for discussion brought by the Committee on Education.
One way of approaching students is through activities like art and sports. With young children who cannot understand spiritual things through words, the Montessori method of using wooden toys or tangible objects as a means of communication, in place of words, is being used to draw out their innate spirituality. Missionaries working with older youth explained how they employ songs and dances popular with young people and offered other such examples.
In response, committee members pointed out that these approaches are difficult to continue for very long. They also questioned how these kinds of fun activities could lead to church involvement or foster faith. The missionaries replied that with young people who reject the direct presentation of the gospel, the creation of a joyful setting is important for them to willingly accept faith. The Green House project in Yokohama was introduced as an example of how this is being done.
To the missionaries who have come to work with the church in Japan and are asking what the church requests and expects of them, we say: “With deep appreciation for the great work you do, there are many districts in Japan where there is almost no contact with missionaries. If you could travel through these outlying areas, it would be much appreciated.” There is a request that missionaries come to lecture at district education seminars. The consultation adjourned with the assurance that such discussions would continue. (Tr. GM) Shinpo (The Kyodan Times)