We are excited to see the number of church planting networks increase across Japan. The chart below illustrates this growth and shows the number of active networks (colors) and participating churches (numerical value) each year.
The first network in 1996 was an experiment to see if what we were dreaming could be done in Japan. After the success of this network, in 2000 with the launch of the second network, we began to pursue expansion in new regions. Since 2002, we have continually expanded, with the total number of networks reaching sixteen, and the number of churches equipped in church planting totaling seventy-nine.
The growth of the networks has taken place because of the unique role they play in equipping churches to reproduce. We consistently see networks influence churches in the following areas.
- Transform the concept that “church planting is impossible” to “it is possible”. Networks help churches overcome negative feelings towards church planting.
- Networks remove the barrier of loneliness in the church planting process. Because it takes time, many churches will give up before planting a church, but networks help them to hang in there through equipping and mutual encouragement.
- By focusing on the Biblical principles of the New Testament church, networks transform concepts of ‘church.’
- Networks encourage the use of all believers (lay leaders), not just professional clergy.
It is awesome to see God at work!