Presbyterian Great Commision: Make Presbyteries of all nations
Higashi Kanto Presbytery is the presbytery where my church resides. It was started on May 3, 1999 by three little house churches that had the the same desire for the kingdom advancement in Japan. On that day, this little flock created a 'mission statement' for the Presbytery. I have done a rough and quick translation below. Now, by God's grace, Higashi-Kanto Presbytery is the largest and most ethnically diverse presbytery in the Presbyterian Church of Japan. I think it is a testament of how God answered their prayer almost 20 years ago. However, the growth is slowing, the pastorate is aging--the work is not done! Also, I mention below, I may not agree with the PCJ 100% of the time, but I have learned more about Presbyterianism (specifically connectionalism) from the Japanese Presbyterians than the American Presbyterians. I hear echoes of Acts 15 when I read this mission statement. Please pray for this presbytery as we try to advance the Kingdom in East Tokyo, Chiba, and Ibaraki. May us MTW missionaries partner with the PCJ to plant more presbyteries, more churches, and see more converted.
Prospectus of the Higashi (East) Kanto Presbytery
With the unification of two Presbyterian denominations, the Presbyterian Church of Japan was established in May 3, 1993. With the establishment of a new church, the eastern region of Japan already had two presbyteries. However, at establishment of the new denomination, there was a pre-existing desire within the Presbyterian Church of Japan to start new presbyteries in different regions as the number of churches grow. One of the desires was to start a new Chiba presbytery. Since JPM started a church planting effort in Chiba-shi, the dream of a new presbytery was realized faster than we imagined. Every year, we held Dendo-Shien Reihai (worship services that support the church planting effort in Chiba) and asked pastors/missionaries from neighboring presbyteries to help with the establishment of this presbytery. During that time, each local church walked faithfully, trained new ruling elders, and started various college ministries. As a result, the road to the establishment of a new presbytery was opened at the General Assembly level and the presbytery was formally established. And now, today (May 2, 1999), 4 local churches and 7 church plants will formally become the “Higashi-Kanto Presbytery.”
<Characteristics of the Region>
The mission field of the Higashi Presbyterian Church is East Tokyo, Chiba, and Ibaraki-ken, which is approximately 10 million people. Although this region may not grow significantly due to economic changes, we expect some sort of increase. Furthermore, this region includes Narita Airport, which makes this region very international. Also, Tokyo Christian University, a university which the PCJ has deep ties with, is also within this region and is a bastion of Evangelical Christianity.
<Foundation of the Higashi Kanto Presbytery>
The Higashi Kanto Presbytery submits to the confession and church order of the Presbyterian Church of Japan. We will govern the church according to the confession of the Westminster Standards and rule according to the constitution of the Presbyterian Church of Japan. Particularly, as the Westminster Standards clearly state, we believe in the authority and infallibility of the Bible and the complete sovereignty of the Trinitarian God. Also, because of the unending sin of humanity, Our Lord Jesus Christ accomplished redemption through his death and his resurrection. Also, we believe that, by his unilateral grace, God justified the elect and will give them eternal life. Also, we not only believe in justifying grace, but also seek out sanctifying grace. Furthermore, we establish church upon covenant theology and aspire to the Reformation spirit of “always reforming.”
<The Special Characteristics of Higashi Kanto Presbytery >
One of the special characteristics of the Higashi Kanto Presbytery is that there are co-laborers from the Presbyterian Church of America, from the Korean Presbyterian church and the Australian church within our fold. Although the work of the missionaries of JPM has not even surpassed 10 years, there are already a significant presence in the presbytery. Also, Korean and Australian missionaries have been extremely significant in the region. With this internationally-diverse Higashi Kanto Presbytery, we give thanks to God for this grace but determine to work with this partners with cooperation and unity, while maintaining the PCJ’s independence and unique identity, for the expansion of the Kingdom.
<The Mission of the Higashi Kanto Presbytery>
In order for the Higashi Kanto Presbytery to continue to establish churches and plant new churches, we will do our best to do the work of the Presbytery to the best of our ability. Also, we determine to be actively involved in mission while standing on the foundation of Reformed theology.
Evangelize as a Presbytery – In regards to church planting, we determine to not be overly-dependent on MTW but lead as presbytery in the church planting efforts. For the lost souls of those who live in Higashi Kanto Presbytery, founded upon the missionary vision of the Presbytery, centered upon the efforts of the Evangelism Committee, which includes college campus evangelism, we hope to 1) conduct demographical studies, 2) consider new church planting locations, 3) commission new evangelists, 4) support and cooperate other missions in order to promote church planting in the region.
Being involved in Society – One of the issues of a new presbytery is how to be involved in society. For example, one of the churches in the Higashi Kanto Presbytery is involved in homeless outreach, trying to support the society’s weak and downtrodden.
Christian Education – The solidification of the Church’s foundation—faith—is imperative for the Christian. Therefore, we determine to develop programs to develop the faith of the Presbytery.
The Transmission of Faith – As a church that is founded upon covenant theology, we believe it is of utmost importance to teach and to guide our covenant children to a confession of faith. If the transmission of faith does not occur, there is no hope for mission. Therefore, we hope to develop programs that promote the transmission of faith.
Training of those called into Ministry – Looking at missions with a long view, we hope to give birth, nurture, and train the next generation of leaders. We hope to do so with the cooperation of the MTW team as well.
Overseas Mission – Since Higashi Kanto Presbytery is one part of world mission, we also believe that promoting world mission is important. Coordinating with the Overseas Mission Committee, we pray that we can support and commission new missionaries and workers for the mission field.
Being Salt and Light of the World – Although mission is about protecting the purity of the Gospel, we shall endeavor to study the culture, religion, customs of Japan, understand the times, have our eye on social issues so that we can influence society as the salt and light of the world.
<The Aim of the Higashi Kanto Presbytery>
A “New” Type of Presbytery –We hope to inherit the good tradition of existing presbyteries but not be bound by them; As a new presbytery, we hope to create a new type of presbytery as well. Through the presbytery and the local church’s relations, cooperation, fellowship and presbytery meetings, we hope to create a new kind of presbytery. We want to be presbytery that is filled with prayer. WE hope to be a church that is enlivened by the Gospel daily. As a “smaller” presbytery, we hope to take advantage of our special strengths and creatively implement new ideas.
Sharing of Gifts – Although the Higashi Kanto Presbytery is one part of the Presbyterian Church of Japan, we also pray that we would be able to embody the unity of the church. On the presbytery level, we hope to do seminars, concerts, fellowship, gatherings for elders, gathers for deacons, young adult gatherings, middle and highschool gatherings etc. Also, we hope to create a network that will be able to address issues like parenting, the future, dropping out of school, economic issues, marital problems and other social issues.
A flock that loves one another – As we are one church, we aim to love one another. We want to pray not only for the flock that is right in front of us, but for the brothers and sisters in Christ all over the Presbytery. Also, we want to serve the Lord by serving the entire Presbytery. We also want nurture a heart that is committed to support one another financially in the Presbytery.
“Acts 9:31 So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.”
Looking forward to the day that our Glorious Head of the Church returns,
Higashi Kanto Presbytery, Presbyterian Church of Japan
May 2, 1999