Why A Youth Movement is Key to Sharing the Gospel in Japan

I came to Christ as a 13-year-old Junior High School student, as a result of my best friend inviting me to a church youth event. It was probably not his primary intention that I would come to know Jesus when he asked me to come, nor was it my intention to learn more about God. I was there to have fun and he invited me because we were friends, pure and simple. Our leaders at the time, men of God who I still count as friends and mentors 30 years later, never preached at me or coerced me into making any decisions; they were simply there for me, loving me like they would love their own children. Four months after coming to church, I made my decision to follow Jesus.

As it turns out, my story is hardly a unique one in terms of how and when I was first introduced to Christ. In fact, it is estimated that worldwide, 70% of people who eventually come to Christ will do so before the age of 15, and 80% before the age of 20. If you think carefully about the implications of those statistics, a church that is serious about reaching the world with the gospel would invest the majority of their time and resources in youth ministry! Sunday mornings might even become youth events for churches who consider themselves “seeker friendly”.

Obviously, the church isn’t going to change that radically in the near future, if ever, nor does it necessarily need to in order to be more effective at communicating the gospel message. But it does mean this: the future of the church lies with the young. Taking two churches with the same number of members but one has a larger population of people under 20 in attendance and one does not, the former is more likely to thrive in the long term.

This poses a bigger challenge for the average church in Japan. The average age of a member of a Japanese church is growing older each year, now probably in the 65-70-year-old range. While there are many reasons behind this trend, one stands out like a 1,000kg gorilla: over 50% of Japanese churches have no specific ministry for youth.

Young people don’t come to church in Japan because church, in its current state, is not for young people. In America, many churches have youth events, children’s Sunday School, children’s services, and some employ youth pastors. Even with a myriad of youth oriented ministries, dedicated staff to implement them and a Judeo-Christian culture, it is still a struggle to get American kids into church.

Now consider Japan, which has no Judeo-Christian culture, few church ministries tailored for youth, a shortage of youth workers and stiff competition from extra-curricular activities and cram school on the weekends for the already scarce free-time of Japanese youth. It is little wonder why most Japanese churches have a void in the under-20 demographic.

I have often talked about the fact that there are near limitless opportunities to evangelize in Japan, but not every opportunity is equal in value. If 80% of people come to Christ before the age of 20 and most Japanese churches are not doing anything to reach that demographic, there is a missed opportunity for the gospel here roughly the size of a black hole.

Fortunately, in the past year a group of pastors and Christian leaders have started meeting together to address this black hole of ministry. They have started the “4/14 Window Movement Japan“, (4/14 refers to the age group between 4 and 14, where 80% of the opportunities lie) which aims to help churches understand the opportunities and challenges in ministering to this demographic. For starters, they have taken the excellent graphic material from the English  4 To 14 Window site and translated it to Japanese. They are also starting to meet regularly to brainstorm ideas and build networks to turn the 4/14 Window Movement into, well, a movement in Japan.

I am keenly interested in this ministry as a parent of children in this demographic, as a former youth advisor, and as a ministry worker who has witnessed how God works through a youth ministry like Vacation Bible School (VBS) on a Japanese church. For thousands of American children including myself, their first encounter with Jesus came when they were invited to a VBS program at a church in their community. Yet many Japanese churches have no ministries designed to invite children and their parents into the church in a non-threatening way. Could a VBS movement work to “grease the wheels” for the 4/14 Movement to truly be set in motion?

This is a subject I hope to address frequently over the next few months and years. I’m interested in feedback from those with experience in Japanese church ministry. What ministries do you think would be most effective at reaching the under-20 demographic with the gospel?

Japan Update: March Madness

This month we’ve been blessed with so many opportunities to talk about our ministry in Japan. For those who haven’t had time to keep up with us, here’s a summary of what we’ve been doing:

March 1: OMS Holiness NorCal Missions Conference

We shared about our ministry at the Northern California OMS Holiness Missions Conference at Santa Clara Valley Japanese Christian Church in Campbell.

March 8: Reaching Japanese for Christ Conference, SoCal

We attended the Southern CA RJC Conference at Wintersburg Prebyterian Church in Santa Ana. Made new networking contacts and learned new information about the profile of different generational groups of Japanese, contextualizaton of materials for Japanese VBS programs, and cultural differences to consider when sharing the gospel with Japanese.

March 9: Los Angeles Holiness Church

We were blessed to be able to share about our ministry at our sister church, Los Angeles Holiness in Los Angeles, and catch up with many old friends.

March 11-19: Younglife Japan Homestay Program

We hosted a student who came with the Younglife Japan ministry team from Chiba. Went with the group to Yosemite, hosted a soccer clinic and ate a lot of great food.

March 23: Fremont Asian Christian Church

We gave the message for FACC’s service. Besides explaining our ministry vision, we also presented on the spiritual landscape of Japan and the opportunities and challenges presented.

March 23: World Christian Fellowship Prayer Group

We spoke at the WCF East Bay Prayer Group in Castro Valley. Our message was on our journey that eventually led us to make a decision to become full-time ministry workers in Japan.

Coming up March 30: Tri-City Chinese Baptist Church

We will be speaking for 25 minutes during the English service of TCCBC in Fremont and doing a Q&A about our ministry during the English Sunday School hour after service.

The Homestay Experience: Blessing or Being Blessed?

On Wednesday morning we stood in the church parking lot as the van of students pulled away, waving our final farewell as they headed off to the airport and eventually back to Japan. Several families from our church and our sister church hosted 8 students and their 2 leaders for a little over a week.

This would be our third and final year hosting a Japanese student here in the Bay Area; we’re leaving for Japan in just a few months. Each year has been an experience I can only describe as reciprocal, teaching and learning, giving and receiving, blessing and being blessed. Having a Japanese student in your home enables you to appreciate the culture of Japan intertwined with the uniqueness of a person whom God created.

We knew hosting a student would be a little more difficult this year than most. Our house was in a bit of chaos from our weekly purging to rid ourselves of 10 years of material accumulation. Some members of our family would be missing at times due to commitments to other activities we had made months earlier. Yet we felt it was important to host a student, to build a relationship with one more person whom we could reconnect with when we reach Japan this summer.

And God did not disappoint us by providing us with a wonderful student whom we will call J. J is a PK, the son of a Tokyo area pastor. PKs generally have a certain reputation for being a bit on the wild or rebellious side, but J was nothing like that. He was a disciplined young man who started each day before sunrise with a five mile run around the neighborhood. Back home, he was a committed soccer coach (apart from being a full time student at a prestigious university) for a middle school soccer team. He told me that he did not expect his players to do anything he would not do himself, hence his discipline in running every day.

J was also extremely independent. I could tell from his story about growing up as a pastor’s son that expectations were high for him and his siblings and he was expected to contribute in positive ways to being successful and hard working. I felt bad because I never woke early enough to make him breakfast; I only had to show him where everything was and he was content to make his own meal long before I was out of bed.

But for all his independence, one thing J had not had to experience was being humbled, at least, until he came to America for the first time. On one of his morning runs at his homestay before he came to our house, he got lost in the neighborhood. Since it was early in the morning, he couldn’t get in contact with any of his team members. When he encountered people in the neighborhood, he was unable to convey enough information to help them help him. Eventually, the police were called out to help him. By the time the police arrived, he was finally able to get the address of his homestay family’s house, and they drove him back. J admitted it was humbling for him to be in America. To be lost and unable to find a way home. To need help identifying items at the store. To need to rely on other people for transportation. But it was through that humbling that he experienced the love of Christ through other Christians, perhaps for the first time.

From what I gathered, J’s father was a pastor whose style of preaching is more intellectual than emotional. Though his father is an outstanding pastor in his own style, J had never seen a church service different from his father’s church. When he experienced church in an American style, a Japanese-American style, and a Japanese church in America style, he realized the rich diversity in the worship of God. None was more right or wrong than another, only different and beautiful in their own ways. In the same way, J experienced the love of Christ through others in different ways than he had experienced before, and that love fed a need that he had not known he even had.

For me, it was a blessing to be able to see how even among our Christian brothers and sisters in Japan, there is a diversity in the worship of God that needs to be experienced to be appreciated. J’s church is a healthy church where people are being fed from the Word of the Lord, but now he has experienced a different style of worship that will no doubt influence him spiritually in the future. For me, I’m excited to walk with J on this journey and continue to meet with him in Japan to answer his questions about living out his faith in new ways and serving God with the many gifts he has been blessed with.

Please pray for J as he processes all he experienced and learned from his time in America and decides how he can love others with the love of Christ as he was able to receive it from others.

Reflecting on 3/11 – Hope for Japan

 

In the winter of 2011, nine months after the tsunami changed everything in Japan, I sat with Pastor Jonathan Wilson at a Christian conference in Southern California. While Jonathan Wilson may not be a household name here in America, he is destined to become one in Japan and possibly throughout Asia. As Executive Director of CRASH Japan, it was Jonathan’s team that coordinated the relief efforts of thousands of volunteers from hundreds of Christian organizations coming into Japan to serve after the devastation of the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disaster. Literally days before Typhoon Haiyan took an equally heavy toll on the Philippines, Jonathan Wilson was there, training local Christians on large scale disaster response. But I digress.

The point of this story is how the experience Pastor Jonathan shared with me about Japan changed my perspective of serving there. Until I heard from Pastor Jonathan, I felt, as many American Christians do, that the Japanese people need the message of salvation, that they needed to be saved, one by one, from the error of their beliefs. It was a Western-centric perspective that though well-intended is wrought with judgment and condescension.  On the other hand, Pastor Jonathan served many years in Japan before the 2011 triple disaster. He preached the same message to the Japanese people the whole time, but it wasn’t until disaster struck that the message really sunk in for many. What was the message he was preaching? Hope.

If you ask a person who lived through the tsunami what hope means to them, the answers are pretty concrete. Moving out of temporary housing and back into their family home. A community of friends and family who can support them emotionally. Rebuilding a life that was literally swept away from them one horrific day in March 2011.

Apart from those who lived through a tragedy like this one, however, the idea of hope becomes more vague. Japan is, in its own eyes and the eyes of much of the world, a successful country.

Though Japan puts on a facade of a country that has it all together, some serious cracks are appearing in it. The suicide rate in Japan continues to be an epidemic and train service on lines in the Tokyo area are halted daily by suicide attempts on the tracks. Social issues like hikikomori, shut-ins who live in their parents’ home and refuse human interaction with anyone, number in the hundreds of thousands. And problems the world assumed Japan did not have like homelessness, child abuse, and violent crime, have become more visible to the general public. And what can prevent and/or relieve social issues on a scale this large? Only one thing: Hope.

When we view Japan with the lens of our American context, we assume Japan can handle its own problems. After all, that’s how we do it in the West. What we forget is that Japan doesn’t have the infrastructure of churches and social services that America has. For whatever negative things can be said about the churches in America, there are a multitude of positive things that can be said about them. Churches and other religious organizations are the primary providers in America for counseling, serving the poor, and defending the helpless, like the elderly and the orphaned. The same cannot be said of Japan, where the responsibility lies chiefly with the government, a government hopelessly overwhelmed with other issues that demand its attention.

Simply put, it is the church’s responsibility to bring hope to Japan. It’s not something they can manufacture for themselves, nor are we exporting it from America to them. Our hope is in the gospel. It is in the person of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer. We will go to Japan with that message and to partner with Japanese Christians to encourage them to share hope with their communities. Because it’s going to involve every Christian in Japan to get this message out to the people.

And hope is a message that can’t simply be shouted from the rooftops or handed out in tracts at Shinjuku station. It’s a message that requires the messengers to get their hands dirty, to go into the dark places where hope is needed most and to WORK out the message in love and deed. Bringing hope to the homeless means spending time with them, giving them back their dignity, meeting their physical, emotional and spiritual needs simultaneously. Bringing hope to the abused means being a person who is trustworthy and kind, a person who rebuilds the self-esteem that someone else destroyed in them. These are not places we would go by ourselves, but Jesus himself leads us there.

There are a growing number of Christians in Japan who realize the urgency of sharing the gospel in their communities and are finding creative ways to communicate the gospel. These are the people we are seeking as partners. It isn’t our intention to convince those who think otherwise that they need to change what they are doing, but we are happy to work with those whose hearts, like our own, have already been changed by God. They see Japan not as a nation needing to be saved from itself, but a people who need hope in Jesus.

If this message strikes a chord with you, I challenge you to do something about it. Pray with us regularly for hope to come to Japan. Whether in a sentence before eating a meal or on your knees before dawn every morning, every word prayed in earnest is like a fragrant offering to God (Psalm 141:1). Prayer is pleasing worship to God and when He is pleased, He will answer. Join us in this critical activity for bringing the hope of Christ to the many Japanese who need to hear about it.

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Watch Your Tone With Jesus!

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Watch Your Tone With Jesus!

Shinsuke Ohtomo, a pastor at Jesus Lifehouse International Church in Tokyo and “friend we have yet to meet”, has taken on the challenge of translating the Bible in way that is unique to the Japanese language. Because Japanese uses several different words for relating to others based on things like age, social status or tone, it is a very rich yet complex language when expressing relationships between people. Original translations of the Bible to Japanese used one very formal type of expression for the way Jesus related to others. However, we know that depending on the situation, Jesus used very different styles of communication: harshly to the hypocritical religious leaders, persuasively to the masses, and compassionately to those seeking him in faith, just to name a few.

Though often overlooked, linguistics plays an important role in how we relate to gospel. A great novel like Les Miserables would not play out nearly as well if it were written by an author of technical manuals rather than Victor Hugo. In Japanese, with its vast richness of vocabulary for expressing relationships between people, linguistics become even more important. This is another example of how contextualization helps reveal the fullness of the gospel in the heart language of the people it is being addressed to.

4 Behaviors of a “Soto Muki” (Outward Looking) Church

As our Japanese Christian network continues to expand, I keep “meeting” new people with amazing stories and ministries to the Japanese. “Meeting” in the sense that I am only able to make their acquaintance online and if I am lucky, have a Skype call with them to introduce myself.

Today, I exchanged messages with Kathy Oyama who co-pastors the Biblical Church of Tokyo with her husband Seiji. It turned out we attended this church once 3-4 years ago as a missionary family we know attend there. In the past few years, however, the church has made great strides in connecting with their community, an area of Tokyo with a growing number of young families, a rarity in Japan these days.

The Biblical Church of Tokyo is thinking outside the box to connect with their neighborhood. Here are a few things they are doing that make them exceptional in being an outward looking or “soto muki” church.

1. Participating in the community. Seiji and Kathy sit on the board of their community association along side local business owners and influential people in their neighborhood. By showing they are willing to serve their community in ways that are outside the scope of church activities, they are building bonds of trust and transparency with their neighbors and showing them they have no reason to fear the church.

2. Serving community needs without an agenda. The church found simple ways to serve the community by simply opening the church’s restroom to families playing in the park across the street. As they gained trust, they were able to offer more services, now opening a play center for use of the community families. At no time did they pressure anyone using the facility to attend church; they simply used the “soft sell” of posting information about classes and activities that might be of interest to local families. And the community members were astounded that the church never “forced religion” on them, which built a stronger bond of trust.

3. Relating to their community in the context of Japanese culture. Biblical Church of Tokyo embraces the beauty and uniqueness of Japanese culture. They host their own mochi making party on New Years Day. They celebrate Children’s Days and Respect for the Elders Day. Contextualizing the gospel is very controversial in Japan where so much of the culture is tied to idol worship and animism. Yet in order to make the gospel relevant to the Japanese, who see Christianity as a Western religion, it must be done. The Oyamas address the context of the culture carefully while maintaining the integrity of the gospel message.

4. Bonding with the community in service to others. The Oyamas invite their neighbors to participate alongside the church in serving others in their community. There is no greater opportunity to witness to others about the love of Christ than to work side by side with them. The greatest impact for the gospel in the tsunami affected region of Tohoku was not the people who were being served, but those in the periphery, family, friends and community who witnessed the selfless work of Christians for others.

In a country where the vast majority of the population is apathetic about or sometimes hostile to your faith, it’s easy to “circle the wagons” to protect your flock. But to do so is to ignore the Great Commission (Matt 28:18-20) and moreover, to deny the reason for our existence as children of God: to share the good news with those who have not had the chance to hear it. It takes courage to do what Kathy and Seiji are doing, but through their faithfulness, they are being  building bridges of love with the people around them to experience life in Christ.

Read more about what the Biblical Church of Tokyo is doing in Kathy’s article for Christianity Today.

On George Muller and Faith That Changed the World

This week, I finished a biography on George Müller, the Christian evangelist who went from being a gambler, liar and thief to a man of faith who provided care and education for over 10,000 orphans over nearly 60 years in Bristol, UK during the 19th century.

The life of George Müller is remarkable on many accounts, but none so much as the way he exercised his faith in God. Though he was entrusted with the care of hundreds, sometimes over a thousand orphans at any given time, he never once asked anyone except God to provide financially for them. When there was need, even to the point of having no food to put on the table, Müller and his wife Mary would simply retire to their room and pray, and God would answer, in many cases immediately.

Many famous stories have been documented about Müller’s faith in prayer. At one point, with over five hundred orphans to feed breakfast and not a scrap of food to be found, Müller gathered the orphans around the empty dining hall tables and they prayed together for God to provide them with a meal. Within minutes, a knock came at the door. It was a local baker who said in the middle of the night, he felt an overwhelming urge to get up and bake bread to take to the orphanage the next morning. While the children were eating the freshly baked bread, another knock came at the door. The milk delivery driver said his vehicle had broken a wheel right outside the orphanage. In order to fix it, he would need to unload all of the milk and he didn’t want it to go to waste, so if the orphanage could use it, they could have it for free.

Müller kept detailed records, not only accounting for every penny of his finances (which he would only use as the donor specified it should be used) but also for every prayer request he made of God and the date and way it was answered. Müller not only saw how faithfully God answered prayer, but he recorded everything so that it could be used as an encouragement to others about how God could be faithful to them! Because amazingly enough, serving the orphans was not George Müller’s primary calling; his calling was teaching others that God was absolutely faithful.

It was estimated that over 1.5 million pounds passed through the hands of Müller as he served the orphans. He never kept a penny for himself, and died with 160 pounds in his estate, most of which was the value of his furniture. Nevertheless, he was able to travel the world on multiple occasions  preaching the good news of the gospel and sharing about his faithful God who provided every need for the orphans at just the right time. He never lacked for God’s work to do and was preaching over 300 times per year while running the orphanages and supporting missions work into his late 80’s.

As I reflect on serving in ministry over the past two years, I also see how faithfully God has provided for me and my family. Though I certainly never prayed like George Müller prayed, nor believed in God’s provision like he did, God has still been completely faithful, even generous in providing for us. And when I look at where my faith is today compared to where it was two years ago, it has changed. Though perhaps it isn’t so much that my faith has grown, but that my understanding about God has grown. Müller discovered and practiced a great truth about God; not only is He capable of providing for all of our needs, He loves to do it when we ask. Because as we rely on God for all of our needs, we bear witness to His power and faithfulness to those around us.

But I am even more inspired that God didn’t just provide for the little things of the Müller’s daily life. He provided in abundance for the sake of the orphans. George Müller dreamed big, prayed big, and received big from the Lord. In a sense, his whole life was a challenge to God to show how powerful He is. And God not only came through every time, but He surpassed all expectations George Müller ever had.

Ephesians 3 concludes with this reminder that God’s power  is not limited even to the capacity of what we can imagine:

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

George Müller inspires us to pray big prayers and expect big answers from God. As Hudson Taylor, missionary and friend of George Müller once said: “God’s work, done in God’s way will never lack God’s supply.” Perhaps Taylor was thinking of his friend’s example when he said these words.

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Serving The “Least of These” in Japan

Doctor James Curtis Hepburn and his wife Clara arrived in Japan in 1859. Though they came as Christian missionaries, they quickly learned that Christianity was strictly forbidden for Japanese and were unable to make any progress for Christ. Rather than becoming discouraged and going back to America, Dr. and Mrs. Hepburn  began training Japanese doctors in the ways of Western medicine introducing some practices that were far ahead of the medicine practiced in Japan. Over the years, they contributed greatly to the advancement of Japanese society in the field of medicine, and perhaps more importantly, linguistics. It was Dr. Hepburn who published the first practical bilingual Japanese-English dictionary, and he did it by inventing a form of writing commonly used today, romanji. So important was the invention of romanji to making Japan accessible to the West and vice-versa, there are some who say it was Hepburn, not the military threats of Commodore Perry, that truly opened the doors of trade between Japan and the Western world and changed the course of Japan’s future in the process.

When Cameron Townsend devoted years of his life to translating the Bible into a Guatemalan Indian language, his purpose was to enable these people to hear the gospel in a language that could move their hearts. In the process, however, Townsend realized he would also have to teach these people how to read and write in their language, and as he did so, he taught them the value of education and increased their ability to create positive economic change for their people group. Though it was not Townsend’s primary intent to give these indigenous people a pathway out of poverty, it was a by-product of the work God had given to him. And the same results are happening as Townsend’s organization, Wycliffe Bible Translation, repeats the process with hundreds of people groups around the world.

I offer these two stories to you because I find it is difficult at times to explain the importance of what we are doing in Japan. Even among Christians, the work of missionaries is not fully understood or accepted. And by the standards of the world, the work of missionaries may seem at best a folly, and at worst a crime against the people we are serving. History mainly remembers the harm missionaries have done to people groups and forgets the social ills that Christian missionaries have fought against. There is no doubt that some Christians have done tremendous harm to people in the name (but not the spirit) of God, and that is inexcusable. However, we should remember that foot binding in China, widow burning in India, and cannibalism are some of the many evils that have been brought to an end as a result of Christian missionaries who fought against them. New studies are revealing that people groups who have had contact with Christian missionaries are more likely to be better educated, have better access to medicine and are generally much better off than those who have not. Far more good has been done in the name of Jesus than damage by those who misused his name to exploit people.

In Japan, the issues are not as sensational, but they are real all the same. Suicide, anti-social depression (hikikomori), bullying, and neglect. These are huge problems in Japan that the government either cannot or will not deal with adequately. We believe these are issues the Japanese church is obligated to address because as Christians, we must follow the example of Christ. Throughout the Bible, God stood up for the weak and oppressed and opposed those who would do them harm or simply ignore them.

We are not implying that we are going to Japan to solve these social issues. But we will boldly say this, God has provided the solution to all of these problems and more in Christ Jesus. If, by the grace of God, we are able to affect positive change to the social issues of modern Japan, then we embrace that as part of our ministry.

William Carey, missionary to India said it best: “Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God.” Though our ministry is primarily to enable every Japanese person to hear the message of the gospel, if God brings healing to the nation of Japan through that message, that is simply blessing heaped on blessing.

Reflecting on the World Christian Conference

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This past World Christian Conference represented my third and my last as attendee/staff. Very soon my tenure with the World Christian Fellowship will come to an end as I transition full time into serving in Tokyo, Japan.

In my small group, I confessed that juggling the responsibilities of planning the conference with preparing for Japan had been a distraction for me. In fairness, it’s probably not easy for anyone to focus simultaneously on two tasks of this magnitude, but I admitted that I was just happy that we were able to finally host the conference for our attendees. Oops. That was my mistake.

I now understand the power of confession because soon after those words left my lips, the conviction of the Holy Spirit went to work on me. Was my whole motivation for planning the conference based on putting on a good performance for those in attendance? I had, without ever realizing it until that moment, developed a Martha complex.

But God is so faithful and so patient with me. When I realized how selfish and prideful I was thinking, I immediately repented of my attitude. “Lord, I know this conference is for me as much as it is for everyone else here.” I confessed. And those simple words changed everything.

During the next morning session, the Spirit was able to break through to me and challenge me in an area of my life where I had not acknowledged I was resisting God’s will out of my own fears and insecurities. I received prayer from a dear friend about yet another area of ministry where I would potentially struggle but had not sought prayer before. And another brother, whom I had just met prayed a powerful blessing over me that evening. Throughout the day, I was able to talk to many people, old friends and new, who confessed that God had moved them in a powerful way through the conference.

As the evening session ended, I stood alone but not alone, absolutely basking in the grace that God had for me. Not only had God broken through to me, but to many others as well, who prayed together or simply worshiped around me.

In the selfishness of my heart, I wanted to finish my tenure at WCF strong. I wanted to be remembered as a leader who left WCF in a good place and made positive changes to the organization’s culture. But it was all about me and God reminded me at the World Christian Conference that it’s NOTHING about me and EVERYTHING about him.

So if I am remembered as a leader of WCF, I want to be remembered as a leader who loved my fellow servants as brothers and sisters. I want to be remembered as a leader who came out of my role as Executive Director as a stronger and more mature follower of Christ than when I began. And I want to be remembered as a leader who believed so strongly in the vision of WCF that in obedience to God, I left the best job I’ve ever had at WCF to follow Jesus to Japan.