The Adventist Church in Japan has a burden for the millions of unreached people living in the capital city. So church leaders in Japan invited the Adventist Church’s General Conference and the Northern Asia-Pacific Division to partner with them to create Mission Unusual — an ambitious church-planting and disciple-making movement in Tokyo.
Key to the development of Mission Unusual are the Global Mission Centers, which focus on creating resources to share the gospel with unreached people groups.
“Tokyo is the world’s largest city,” says Doug Venn, director of the Global Mission Urban Center. “There’s a big challenge before us. But guess what, our God is greater! He has given us this mandate in Revelation 14:6 and other places in Scripture to go to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people.
“So, how are we doing? Well, we’re not home yet, and that’s where we as an Adventist family worldwide can focus on reaching the unreached people groups of this city.”
A team of church-planting missionaries will soon arrive in Tokyo to learn the language and how best to share Jesus with the Japanese. In time, they’ll start new groups of believers who will, in turn, make disciples of others. Eventually, they’ll be supported by the ministry of Global Mission pioneers, urban mission centers, volunteers, and tentmakers (mission pioneers with regular jobs who reach out to the community) in a concerted effort to reach the entire city for Jesus.
Helping to lead this team is East Japan Conference president Nozomu Obara. For many years he’s had a passion for church planting. He and his wife, Sachiko, are actively engaged in a disciple-making ministry for children. Obara will be transitioning from his position as president to become the associate director for Mission Unusual Tokyo.
“Greater Tokyo area is a big area with more than 40 million people,” Obara said. “But in the heart of Tokyo, there are about 10 million people — and only 10 Adventist churches with about 900 worship attendees every week. So, one Adventist needs to reach more than 10,000 people. Tokyo is a big challenge!”
To confront the challenge, Japanese pastors and missionaries will use a wholistic approach to mission. Mission Unusual will plant the seeds of mission over the next five years. But the mission won’t stop there — these efforts will continue to grow and impact people’s lives for years to come.
“Our focus is not just on events and programs,” Obara added. “Building relationships and getting involved with people is our focus. Finding out people’s needs and meeting people’s needs. In other words, implementing Christ’s method here in Mission Unusual Tokyo.”