A Ripe Mission Field: The Church in Japan Then and Now

Japan (MNN) — When you think of countries that have a significant population of unreached people for the Great Commission, you may not think of Japan first. But Kevin Zirkle with World Gospel Mission says people can’t forget that Japan is a critical mission field.

“A lot of people sometimes don’t think of Japan when they’re thinking of missions because it’s a very highly industrialized, modern society — but it’s a very large, unreached people group. In fact, it’s the largest group in one country where missionaries are open to go.”

A CRISIS OF SPIRITUAL REVIVAL

Kevin and Becky Zirkle, WGM’s regional directors for Asia, Europe, and the Pacific Rim (Photo courtesy of Rachel Zirkle)

Kevin and Becky Zirkle are currently Regional Directors over Asia, Europe, and the Pacific Rim with World Gospel Mission. But the couple also served as full-time missionaries in Japan through WGM for 40 years.

Kevin Zirkle says the Japanese Church faces a lot of challenges, but not from persecution or the government. Rather, it faces challenges from a lack of spiritual revival within the country.

“Only one percent of the Japanese are Christian. The Church has kind of plateaued and they’re facing a serious shortage of pastors.”

He says the Church in Japan also has a hard time drawing in young people. “For a long time, young people didn’t see the Church as having any connection to their daily life. The Church has realized it’s failed on some areas in that way, so they’re trying to reach out to more young people.”

Read the rest of this story by Mission Network News (mnnonline.org).

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