【October 2019 No.404】2019 Japan-Germany Youth Mission

 by Rev. Naka Yoshiyuki, Bible Teacher,

 Seirei Christopher High School

The 2019 Japan-Germany Youth Mission was held from July 25 to August 3. The eight members from Japan this time ranged from second-year middle school students through first-year college students: three boys, five girls, and two leaders (a man and a woman). The receiving church group in Germany was the Kirchenkreis Wittstock-Ruppin District, with District Superintendent Matthias Puppe bearing most of that responsibility.


The overall theme was “Genesis,” and after arriving, participants were divided into two groups to make artistic creations related to the first and second chapters of the Book of Genesis. We used such items as clay and tree leaves and displayed our creations at St. Marien Church where the Sunday worship service was held. Compared to Chapter 1, the realistic creations of Adam and Eve in Chapter 2 made a deep impression.


Continuing with the theme of “Genesis,” several other events were planned, including a discussion about the environmental issues of both countries, long-distance cycling and camping, and a time of prayer in a historic sanctuary, making for a full schedule. On the eighth day, we visited Berliner Missionswerk’s mission center and had a chance for interchange with Pfr. Dr. Christof Theilemann, Director of Berliner Missionswerk. He passionately related his recollections of feeling inferior as a believer during the former period of East Germany and stated that the tragedy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki “must never, NEVER be repeated.”


Preparation was done this time by three members in their 20s, who were the core of the task team; Rev. Kataoka Hoko of Kamakura Sensui Church and I served in the role of advisors. I am grateful for the place the young people were given for enthusiastic interaction. (Tr. RT)






 今回は20代3名のタスクチームを中心に、私と片岡宝子牧師(鎌倉泉水教会)がアドバイザーという立場で準備を進めました。それも含めて青年たちが生き生きと活躍できる場が与えられたことに感謝する次第です。(聖隷クリストファー中・高 教務教師 仲 義之)

【October 2019 No.404】From the General Secretary’s Desk: “Unto the Least of These” Places of Worship

The Kyodan’s most critical issue these days is that of structural reform. The organizational structure that has been in place since 1968 is facing numerous problematic areas, including the impact of its declining and aging membership, the need for effective evangelization of the younger generation, and the need to maintain financial stability. How can the organizational structure be revamped to function more smoothly within these realities while strengthening evangelistic outreach and reinvigorating the denomination? We are presently deliberating these issues in order to make concrete proposals to the 2020 Kyodan General Assembly.


To help revive the Body of Christ through such structural reform, we are endeavoring to activate movements to propel evangelism forward on a national scale, under the leading of the Word and the Holy Spirit. We are using  three slogans to give concrete direction to these movements:


1. Prayer Movement —Let us pray together;

2. Laity Movement—Let us proclaim together; and

3. Offering Movement—Let us present our offerings



As part of this effort, the third Sunday of each month is being designated “A Day of Prayer for the Promotion of Evangelism in Japan.” Likewise, we will encourage each district to identify churches with less people, which are also the only church in a rural town or city, so that we can pray for those churches and offer encouragement as we share in the issues they face.


Of course, struggling churches with low attendance that are the only ones in such rural towns and cities are not all alike, but they do represent the realities facing Japanese society, which has many depopulating areas — particularly in rural areas — along with a rapidly aging population in which only a small percentage are Christians. However, we can also see these situations as opportunities for the remarkable work of the Gospel.  At any rate, we want all our members to focus their prayers on such churches and their mission issues. By not focusing on places with great potential for attracting lots of people but focusing instead on seemingly evangelistically inefficient locations, there will be opportunities to see how the promises of God’s grace being poured out on the weakest places and Christ’s Great Commission to go into all the world will be fulfilled. We will see how the strength of the Kyodan’s nationwide network of bases of operation is maximized. (Tr. TB)

                                   —Akiyama Toru, general secretary



秋 山  徹