The past few months I have been reading, thinking, breathing, talking a lot about the topic of the course I’m teaching in Nagoya – evangelism. It’s something I’m pretty excited about; it has been been refreshing and challenging to attempt a comprehensive study on this topic in Japan.
Yesterday I taught a full day at Christ Bible Seminary in Nagoya — 4 lectures/topics to about twelve students: 1) Irene Webster-Smith and the Power of One (focusing on the amazing things God can do in Japan through changing one life in the context of their community); 2) Paradigm Shifts and Conversion – looking at different types of paradigm shifts and models to help us understand what happens, including the need for dialogue instead of monologue; 3) Hindrances to Evangelism in the church in Japan – this was interesting because due to miscommunication the lecture handouts never got translated. But I really think it was better that this was not a lecture with “answers” coming from me – I allowed the class to brainstorm and discuss together, coming up with a great list -they hit many that were on mine; 4) A Theology of Relationships – looking at how God’s heart, mission, and strategy is centered on restoring and building relationships, and our strategy should likewise reflect His. We focused on the need for the church to better equip lay people to build relationships to do evangelism, and the need to help people experience the realities of Jesus in the context of those relationships. Here’s some of our class. (Thanks to Craig for these photos.)
I loved how the class entered in! One of the things I like to do sometimes when I start a class is to have students write a haiku (5-7-5 syllables). Some of the students afterwards said this might have been the most difficult assignment that I give out! – but I was touched by what the students wrote about their perspective on evangelism in Japan. Here are a few:
１）この日本は ２) まことの神を ３）知りません。 Translation: In this Japan they don’t know the true God.
１）しゅうかくは ２）ゆたかにくるよ 3）にほんにも。 Translation: The harvest is really coming in abundance even to Japan.
1) Waiting quiet lake 2) God’s hail drops hit here and there 3) ripples, touch each one.
1）御言葉を 2）すべての民に 3）世の民に Translation: (Taking) The Word – to all people, to all nations of the world.
1) In the Book of Acts 2) You have promised us power 3)Please give us power.
1) 氷塊も 2）主の御言葉にて ３）川となる。 Translation: Even a lump of ice — the word of the Lord can make it as a river. (Psalm 147:17,18)