Wednesday, June 16, 2004

The Church Door

The church I am currently staying in is part of the Budo No Ki Saru Chaachi, or in English that would be the Grapevine Cell Church. The specific name of the location where I am is the Sekime Chapel.

Dan and Karen Ellrick along with Aukje vanden Berg are the missionaries I have been working with. The method arrived at after much forethought and deliberation was a cell church plant. The cell church model is one that seeks to build a church out of small spaces such as homes and allows for a lot of expansion based on a very small amount of space. In Japan homes are not a feasible option, so the small spaces turned into rental spaces. The building I’m in is a commercial building on the first two floors and the rest are residential. The front of the building is on a major street, so there are a few restaurants, a dentist and a travel agent amongst other things, while the back of the building is office type space. The church is in one of these units.
The plant is not growing so well. There are no regular attendees other than the missionary staff at this time. In the last year sustained efforts were made at making new contacts and trying to develop the contacts. Through short-term projects such as stuffing mailboxes and public concerts the staff had developed a few attendees but they have since dropped away. This is a very normal scenario in Japan and it is not uncommon for church plants to go 10 years before seeing any real growth, (measured in the 10’s). It can be very discouraging and disheartening for those involved.

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