Read the story below.
What’s The Bridge All About
Pardon me if it’s too long. The Bridge is really all about Jesus and what He has done on the cross. As the name suggests, it came from a burden to see the spiritual gap between God and a lost generation bridged in Christ, and secondly it’s also about bridging the relational gap in our society- where people have little or no time for each other- both in the family and workplace.
How It All Started
In 20011 we moved to Noborito, Kawasaki City, where I got to serve as a pastor and where my wife could start a small school . My wife and I had no preconceived ideas about what we will do, in terms of outreach, although we knew in our hearts that we would love to build up the Church for a while and perhaps gather a team, and launch into another Gospel-centered church plant. We came with open hearts and hands, trusting that God in His sovereignty would give us directions. Our Church teaches English as one of the strategies for serving the local community we’re in. So one day I had to fill in for an English teacher, which I eventually took over. I had the privilege of teaching this wonderful Japanese mother who then led me to her son, as she found out my affinity for music was similar to her son- Hirohito. Since that day, Hirohito and I decided to meet every Wednesday- just for Jam sessions. During these times, we would pray and then finish up the session with prayer again. This went on for a while, until Hirohito began to introduce me to other musicians (including university bands etc).
When Jesus sent His disciples, He said, “..if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him” (Luke 10). Usually, a man of peace is someone who has some receptivity, and is not opposed to your message, or the fact that you’re a Christian. They are usually someone in a position of influence in their family, friends and within the community. And they also have the ability to introduce new people into their sphere of influence effectively. So, the Lord gave us our man of peace. We then decided, as we felt led, to bring in these bands and hold concerts where their friends, families and fellow musicians could then participate in an alternate safe place- as opposed to local bars and night clubs. There’s always a gap between the church and the community and we decided that if we bridged this gap we would be able reach more artists so that they can hear the Gospel. We are so thankful for how the Lord has been blessing us in these events. The Bridge is not less but more than an event, and this is the reason we do it only once in three months- to have ample time for following up and cultivating friendship with the people who come there. Also, since we started two years ago we’ve seen, by God’s sovereign grace, an influx of musicians and their friends whom we have lost count. But we’re grateful that in just two years God has given us people who are gradually becoming a regular part of this event. The greatest challenge we face now is following up these wonderful people, for whom Jesus died and rose again, to become part of our existing community.
To this end, we’re committed to opening our house and have been able to host times of just hanging out, eating together, and opening up the Bible that they may see how God’s story fits with their own stories. In one week, we’ll be having this event for the 7th time and we’re very excited that some of them are equally excited in coming back. We’ve spoken about God’s holiness & grace, His unconditional love for sinners, His glory- the futility of their own pursuit of self-glory, how music is good and God-given but can be a powerful idol, and how all of their idols will not deliver the joy that they are looking for- apart from eternal joy in Christ. So, dear readers, I just wanted to invite you to pray for November 16th, between 6:00 to 9: 00 p.m (Japan time) wherever you are. We would greatly appreciate your prayers for our team, especially for me as I open up the scriptures and speak during the concert. Pray also for miraculous intervention of the Holy Spirit to confirm the Word so that the eyes of their hearts are opened to see the glory of God shining in the face of Jesus Christ.
Theological Conviction For The Bridge
Most contemporary Churches have a tendency to neglect biblical doctrine/theology for the sake of being relevant. Sometimes, biblical truth is often sacrificed in the name of relevance, for the sake of being relevant, in post-modern Japan. On the other hand, more traditional Churches (more conservative in their ecclesiology) have a tendency to become cold with rigid legalistic demands & structures whilst becoming increasingly irrelevant to the younger generations. Japan is the fastest aging country, and currently has a very low birth rate (read more here). Hence, there’s an urgency to reach young people with the biblical Gospel, and there’s a great need for biblical church plants in this 2nd largest unreached people group. But we also deeply recognize the need for contextualization, and this sometimes takes years with lots of listening, learning and exegeting the surrounding culture (I’ve dealt with this subject elsewhere in my previous posts here). We deliberately want to use the vernacular to make it comprehensible, just as Jesus spoke aramaic and not some foreign language different from the Jewish culture when He entered the world. We strongly believe that contextualization is not about making the Gospel relevant, but showing the relevance of the Gospel to a lost generation (which is at the heart of what we’d like to see happen).
God Loves Cities.
5.5 million people move into cities every month. Tokyo is world’s largest Mega-city, and a major strategic global city. There are at least 25 Unchurched Cities in Japan (see here). Cities are centers of worship where people worship money, education, wealth and power. And Cities are also filled with people who bear the image of God, and are loved by God, but do not know or worship Him. By 2050, the world will be nearly 70% urban. We are now working with another Japanese church planter in Fuchu (3rd largest city in Tokyo, only 20 minutes away from us ) where he and his team leads a missional community. We’re excited to be a part of this extended family in Christ, so please pray for them and their community as well. We believe that the gospel will be a light to our city, for our city- for the good of the Japanese and God’s glory.
What We Need
We need your prayers brothers and sisters. Please pray we will find a bigger space for the next Bridge as we have outgrown our small capacity @ Sonrise Cafe Tokyo. Studio space rental in Japan is no small feat, but we believe and trust in a big God who can open doors and do the impossible. He is faithful.
Should you wish to support this project beside your prayers, we would greatly appreciate it. Please be assured that, should you choose to give, all designated donations will be used for its intended purpose only. We can also provide you with electronic scanned receipts of where your money is going upon request. Thank you again for praying for us. That’s what we really need. (Giving Instructions For U.S, Japan & India Here)