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.”


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).

Missions in Action

Today, we will look at some of our missionary’s photos to see what’s going on around the world as God works in and through WGM and its people to bring glory to His name!


Bill and Beth Ryan‘s Facebook post from Honduras: “Sunday school building progress.”


Holly Muehleisen‘s Facebook post about reading to children in Japan.


Darin and Laura Arnott‘s Facebook post from the American Indian Field: “Teen Weekend Camp went very well with 25 teens attending. The lessons and activities were centered around setting and keeping healthy boundaries in our lives.”


Brady and Alicia Searl‘s Facebook post from Uganda: “Preparing to pass out ‘mommy hospital kits’ to expectant mothers who attend the Jungo Omulise service. The kits help mothers deliver their babies with some of the necessary items that the hospitals do not provide. These kits allow the new babies to have a cleaner, safer environment during their first hours of life. #searlsinuganda”


Robyn Moore Facebook post from Kenya, “This has been a busy and great weekend. Yesterday we celebrated my 35 years in Kenya with a host of friends helping me host over 150 children at my church here in Nairobi for a party. Face painting, nails polished, “football” and other fun. Six different ministries were represented that Least of These has a part in caring for them. I was so very blessed at the testimonies how God has used me to show His love and care for children. Acrobats, singers and dancers shared their love to me. The time ended with cake then gifts for every child, and I told them the gifts were from many of you from around the world. Today I was able to share my testimony of God’s faithfulness in my life for 35 + year in Kenya at my home church, Good Shepherd AGC. To God be the glory, great things He has done!”

This week, send us a photo of you participating in missions work in your community. We want to see how you are making an impact. Please leave details about the specific ministry, and we’ll pray specifically for your cause. Get involved, make a difference, and give God the glory, because we are all called to be missionaries wherever we are.