Japan Church Considers Sending Missionary to Detroit

Post a Comment » Written on March 15th, 2007     
Filed under: News
DETROIT, MI (March 15, 2007) – The Japan Covenant Church soon will send a missionary to the Detroit area to evangelize Japanese families who are in the United States.

Nathan Pawl, pastor of Christ Covenant Church (C3) in Novi, Michigan, and Larry Sherman, director of church planting for the Great Lakes Conference of the Evangelical Covenant Church, returned last week from Japan where they discussed with pastors how the missionary would work with Covenant congregations in the Detroit area.

JapanThe missionary will focus on reaching Japanese who are in the United States on three- to five-year work visas, Sherman says. Most of the Japanese are executive and engineers with automobile manufacturers that plants and offices in the area.

The Japan Covenant Church has yet to identify the missionary, but they hope to start in 2008, Sherman says. The strategy is to connect English-speaking families with metro-Detroit Covenant churches and then with Japan Covenant churches when they return home.

Less than one percent of Japan is Christian, but many of the citizens are more open to exploring the gospel when they come to the United States as they experience American culture, Sherman says. Thirteen thousand Japanese live in the metro Detroit area, many of them in Novi, a Northwest suburb.

Pawl and David Husby, who serves as Covenant World Mission regional coordinator for Asia, discussed the possibility of developing the mission outreach in 2005. Last year, Miyamato Sensei, the chairperson of the Evangelism Commission for the Japan denomination, met with a cluster of pastors in Detroit.

C3 already has been in contact with 40 Japanese families. Some of them have been attending conversational English classes and international cooking experiences at the church. Both events are designed to reach out to many different ethnic groups.

“We have been running our ‘Conversation Partners’ for a little more than a year,” Pawl says. “We don’t actually teach English as most of those who attend are already enrolled in a program.  Instead, we just provide a safe environment for those who would like to practice to come and talk.”

The Conversation Partners meet in a local café once a week. “Currently, the classes are comprised of all women, whose husbands work for one of the many international companies in our area,” Pawl says. The classes are not limited to one people group and involve women from different countries.

Women from different countries gather at the church for International Cooking Night events and focus on one culture’s food. They then prepare a meal from that culture.

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