This past Sunday was our 1st Anniversary as Tokyo Life Church. Though our grand opening a year ago was a definite ministry highlight, this past Sunday felt even more special. Even though it was our largest attendance so far for a Sunday service (50), I’ve had the privilege to serve at two megachurches. So, I have spoken to far larger crowds. It was not just the crowded room. There were other factors.
- Vision Becoming a Reality- our grand opening was announcing the dream. It was the beginning of our community. Now, we are seeing glimpses of that dream taking shape. People are finding life and hope. New people are experiencing the Gospel. Lives are being transformed. It is just not a desire or wish. https://www.youtube.com/embed/subhZzWDXGo” target=”_blank”>One of our members created a slideshow that captured our first year. We see our story unfold beautifully.
- The owner of our meeting space came with his family. We were nomads meeting in various locations, before he took the chance to welcome us to his restaurant. He likely did this as a favor to his friend, Steve, who is on our launch team. But, time after time, he has accommodated our requests to serve food, stay longer for meetings, host an Alpha Course, etc. Miho gave a special tribute to him. We see him as our “Man of Peace” (cf. Luke 10:6). When the disciples were sent out, they were to find a man of peace who welcomed them in the new town. The church is not a building, but the space does play an important part. After the service he joked that with our growth, he may need to open a larger restaurant! We’d be fine with that. Our prayer is that our relationship will only strengthen with him and his staff.
- We held our first baptisms. Two young Japanese took the step to be baptized. They shared their testimonies in the service. Incredibly moving. After the service, we went to another church that allowed us to use their baptismal font and fellowship hall for our potluck lunch. Around ten people joined the celebration from our partner church, KBF. Miho and I were able to each baptize one of them. At year one, we are so thrilled to see people growing in their faith. Here in Japan, around 2/3rds of churches don’t baptize a single person in a given year. Especially for church plants, it may take years to see any fruit. Just season after season of sowing seeds and patiently watering. We don’t take any credit for this though. We recognize the various people God brought into their life over the years to plant seeds and bring them closer to Christ.