The All Japan 2018 Maranatha project, during which 161 evangelistic meetings were held in Japan for three weeks in May 2018, brought a good harvest last year across the country, according to church leaders. This year, those leaders have expanded Adventist Church efforts in relation to the Maranatha 2019 project, which will be carried out in October.
The project is based on the concept of Total Member Involvement (TMI), an initiative of the world church to get members involved in sharing Jesus with others. Adventist media is an important component in support of these initiatives, leaders said.
“In November 2017, we started with Radio Nikkei, a short-wave radio station, to broadcast health programs on the radio five days a week,” said Norihiko Hanada, director of the Adventist Television Network and Media Publishing of the Japan Union Conference. “In February 2018, we added seven community FM stations in Tokyo to broadcast the same health programs, and in January 2019, we were blessed furthermore to be able to enter into one of the biggest radio stations in Japan, Nippon Broadcasting System.”
Hanada said the best that a religious group can usually hope for is to be given a radio slot between 4:00 and 5:00 in the morning or sometime after midnight. “Surprisingly, we were accepted to broadcast during primetime, between four and five in the afternoon, during their live program,” he said.
The live program is run by Mitsuyo Kusano, a well-known former TV news anchor. This program already has 340,000 followers.
“Our program is being incorporated into this live program in the form of a question-and-answer-style session, in which doctors from the Tokyo Adventist Hospital answer health-related questions from listeners,” Hanada said. “It is the first time in the history of Nippon Broadcasting that a particular religious denomination has had a spot during primetime. We believe this is a miracle. Only God can make this happen.”
Hanada explained that those radio stations are a connecting tool to bring people to local churches.
“In the Tokyo metropolitan area, we are having health seminars using our local churches as venues. The radio stations are announcing each health seminar in different locations, hoping to bring people there. At the same time, we are able to introduce the Seventh-day Adventist Church and related organizations through radio broadcasting,” he said.
He explained that now, local churches need to open their doors to their communities.
“Many churches are struggling because even though they hold many seminars and events in their churches, the visitors do not necessarily make personal connections and start Bible studies or stay in the churches,” he said. “That’s why the health ministries department of the Japan Union Conference has tried to create a health program that helps to connect visitors with the local church members by using activity-based seminars, which include workshops, games, role plays, and team activities that foster interaction between participants.”
It is different than typical health seminars that are only lecture based, Hanada explained. “Visitors enjoy learning about health through many activities. In this activity-based seminar, we do not have to invite health professionals as special guest speakers. We have all the tools necessary, such as health books, presentation slides, tracts, and so on, for the church members to create their own health activities and to gain relationships with people in their communities,” he said.
At the media center of Japan Union Conference (JUC), leaders have put their best effort into fully supporting the Maranatha 2019 project by producing various types of media promotions. In addition, local churches and the JUC are working closely together.
“Our one and common goal is to bring precious souls to Jesus,” Hanada said. “Please keep us in your prayers so that we may have a great harvest this year!”