Rather than spend my birthday eating out or exploring new parts of Tokyo, Miho and I were able to leave Allie with grandma and spend the day meeting and hearing from various pastors and church planters from the States. The funny thing is one speaker was an old friend who I knew from my role at the Center for Preaching and involvement in the Evangelical Homiletics Society. Another guy is the missions pastor of the church where Chris Tomlin used to lead worship. If they ever want to send some Chris Tomlin protoge’s to Japan for a future church plant, we are not going to argue with them :)
It was a fun experience and very insightful. Here are a few notes we took from the day:
– New Christians are more effective at reaching their non-Christian friends, since most all their friends are outside the church. (obviously if there is only 1% Christians here, chances are most people only know non-Christians)
– Keep talking about changed lives. Celebrate the smallest victories to change the culture of the church.
– Assessing a church planter: One’s past behavior is a good predictor of their future performance. A few key characteristics: 1) wife feels called rather than just supportive of husband’s dream, 2) Inspiring communication, 3) Capacity for a Vision, 4) Likes to start things from scratch, 5) Intentionally Builds Relationships, 6) Good Insights into People and Situations 7) Adapts to Change Well, 8) Develops Other Leaders 9) Thinks Strategically, 10) Does Well in Uncertainty
A great day with great fodder for our recent conversations. As we hone in on our next steps as long-term missionaries, this event reminded us of what excites us and why we feel passionate about our dreams (and our unique fit to achieve those dreams).