Mark is a Filipino-American who grew up in Manila and Tokyo. Graduating from Stanford and Westminster Seminary California, he hopes to be an ordained PCA (Presbyterian Church of America) pastor working in Japan. Megumi is a Japanese Christian who grew up.. 

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40-year Ministry

Why do missions in Japan?

The Japanese people are the second largest unreached people group, with less than 0.5 percent considered to be professing evangelicals. Some say that only half regularly attend worship. Furthermore, Japan is considered to be one of the most difficult and expensive places to minister.

 

Some identify social problems like suicide, overwork, group-think, or a myriad of cultural, social, and psychological factors that prevent evangelism; however, I believe the most pressing need is the need for internal church renewal. Japanese Christian Fellowship Network (JCFN), an organization that ministers to Japanese in the US, has said that it is 10 to 15 times more likely for a Japanese person to become a Christian in the US. This shows that these obstacles are real; however, this is not the greatest problem. The obstacles to reaching them are even deeper than some perceive. JCFN has also said that 80% of those Japanese who become Christian in the US stop going to church within 2 years. Even if there are Christians who confess Christ, when sent to a Japanese Church, their faith withers away. The Japanese Church is like a wide, broad fishing net, but with large holes in it—the first and primary goal should be to mend the net. This simple statistic shows that the Japanese church is in need of renewal and reformation.

 

Therefore, the planting of vibrant, Gospel-centered, and welcoming churches and the training of elders are pivotal. However, the Japanese church and the the Presbyterian Church of Japan (PCJ) is rapidly aging. More than half of the pastors are nearing retirement age and there are only a small number of younger pastors. The PCJ needs to provide a platform to train young male leaders to be humbly passionate for the gospel in order to sustain, nurture, and grow new Christians.​

Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo
PCJ General Assembly (2015)

What is the purpose of the ministry?

Mark, as an ordained PCA pastor, and Megumi hope to serve with the PCJ and to help do three things in the next 40 years:

  1. Identify, disciple, train and support 20 Japanese elders with Japanese pastors at Oyumino Christ Church and the Chiba Presbytery

  2. Organize, lead, encourage, train, support, vision-cast with these elders to plant churches in the Greater Tokyo region.

  3. Cooperate with PCJ national leaders to identify, develop, and establish a platform (maybe an institution?) to train Reformed Presbyterian elders in a self-sustainable way


What are your long-term goals?

The following are goals made at the age of 25, which was the beginning of my M.Div. We made this in full recognition that plans can change and we cannot promise anything; however, we made a plan to be good stewards of our time.

 

5 Year Ministry Goal (by the age of 30)

  • Complete M.Div, be ordained in the PCA, and return to Japan as an MTW missionary. (Completed, May 2017)

  • As one of the pastors, I hope to serve with Oyumino Christ Church, the largest PCJ church in Greater Tokyo in order to: 1) gain preaching and pastoral experience, 2) establish relationships with the Presbytery, 3) identify the pressing needs within the PCJ, and 4) identify potential elders. (Completed, July 2019)

  • After the 2-3 year term, if the opportunity avails and if there is a felt need in the PCJ, I hope to pursue a Ph.D. in Theology or Church History in order to help establish a PCJ-run Reformed training institution. If there is no need, I hope to serve at a PCJ church for the next 5 years and start to identify and train the 20 elders for the PCJ. (Approved to do church planting, Jan 2019; Applied to and rejected by PhD program, April 2019) 

10 Year Ministry Goal (by the age of 35)

  • Complete PhD and return to a PCJ Church as a pastor or a church planter. If the opportunity avails, then teach at a nearby seminary. If not, continue to serve at the PCJ church or church plant. (Church planting in process)

  • I hope to create a regular gathering of new and mature potential elders to build comradery, accountability, and also theological sharpening over these years. This will hopefully create a community of high-calibre teaching and ruling elders. (Gathering began November 2017, In Process)

  • If I was serving in an pre-existent church, as the a few elders start to mature and a team of core believers start to form, I hope to help plant our first church plant in the Greater Tokyo with the help of the local presbytery and support from the US. During this time, I will continue to work closely with the PCJ to coordinate, identify, train more elders. (Church planting and Presbytery work in process)

20 Year Ministry Goal (by the age of 45)

  • If I am teaching at seminary, I certainly want to continue to establish myself as a professor and a pastor in the PCJ. If I am church planting, I want to work towards self-sustainability and growth of the church with my group of elders in cooperation with the PCJ.

  • Lord willing, I hope to have developed the gathering of about 20 elders who have been ordained in the PCJ by this time.

  • By this time, I hope to have created enough relational capital in order to help start proposing a PCJ wide platform to establish a training ground for ministers and elders.

40 Year Ministry Goal (by the age of 65)

  • If resources, energy and health allow, I hope to establish two to five more church plants with the elders trained and resources from both the PCJ and the USA.

  • If resources, energy and health allow, I would like to help start a Denomination seminary for the PCJ with the gained knowledge from teaching at seminary and/or starting churches.