japan / asia

Spiritual Climate

Honoring one's family, ancestry and culture is of utmost importance to the Japanese. About 70% of people claim no personal religion but continue to follow Buddhism and the rituals of Shintoism just because their ancestors whom they deeply respect did the same. Many new believers bend and break under the pressure to conform to what is considered "normal" by the Japanese and eventual fall away of Christianity. There is a need for the Gospel to be presented in a way that is both relevant and understanding of the Japanese worldview.

Ground-Level Perspectives

Japan is very spiritually dark and oppressed, there is less than 1% evangelical Christians. It is an open country with closed people. Shinto and Buddhist traditions exist, but people seem very lost and fill their lives with entertainment and gadgets. Christians can find it hard to share their faith with others. People are suspicious and view Christianity as something foreign, which makes any Japanese Christian seem 'less' by others—almost as if they were traitors.
— Ken & Bola Taylor

Japan is post-modern. A common theme heard is, 'My parents and grandparents are Buddhist or Shinto, but I'm not religious.' They believe in some kind of fate or unseen power, but wouldn't consider themselves religious. They believe in fortune-telling.
— John Gibbs

In Japan, many claim atheism as their religion, but will still often protect their children and cars with amulets purchased at Buddhist temples.
— Mark Penner

More about Japan

A Couple Raw Facts

Church Illustration

Unity is lacking in a Church that numbers only 1.5% of the population.


Only 10% believe in the existence of a personal God; only 50% have ever even desired help from God or gods.


History & Future


WorldVenture History in Japan

Entering Japan in 1947, today WorldVenture partners with the Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist of Canada to serve the national church, primarily the Japan CBA, through four teams, Church Multiplication, Innovative Ministries, Member Care and Kaizen to see a missional church established. Ministries include church planting and resourcing, leadership development, Deaf Bible sign language translation, third culture children education, compassion, music and returnees.

Today &

Japan Team Goals

The field purpose for WorldVenture Japan is to build reproducing church communities through the transforming gospel of Christ. Alongside church planting and evangelism, ministries dealing with compassion and family care are developing to meet the needs of both Japan and of WorldVenture’s workers there.

5 Global

WorldVenture Global Objectives

  1. Evangelizing the Peoples of the World
    • Relationships being cultivated with non-believers
    • Decisions to follow Christ
    • Believers baptized
    • People engaged in intentional discipleship
    • Bible verses translated and Christian resources created or translated
  2. Extending Grace
    • People helped through development assistance
    • People provided with medical and health assistance
    • People helped toward justice who are in illegal, immoral, dangerous, exploited circumstances
    • People helped directly through disaster relief
  3. Establishing Churches
    • New churches established
    • Daughter churches established
  4. Equipping Leaders
    • Leaders being trained for ministry through formal contexts
    • Leaders being trained for ministry through non-formal contexts
    • TCKs (third culture kids) being equipped
    • 360º leaders being equipped
  5. Encouraging Mission Movements
    • National Christians preparing to become cross-cultural missionaries
    • National churches engaged in cross-cultural missions
    • National church groups engaged in cross-cultural missions

Living Here



Rice every day is normal.
— Mark & Mary Esther Penner


The people are polite, respectful, homogenous and reserved. They're courteous, gracious, there is a low crime rate and nearly everything is on time.
— John Gibbs

Japanese people are proud of their country and accomplishments. They're materialistic and humanistic, although loyal, committed, hardworking, and extremely helpful and polite. People are very serious about work and the roles they are expected to play. Many are wonderfully creative and funny, and a real Japanese friend is a friend for life.
— Ken & Bola Taylor



Cherry blossoms abound and people go out in mass to view them each spring.
— Mark & Mary Esther Penner



Living in Japan is expensive, crowded and, for a woman, confining. Although, it is safer than any other country in the world. If you drop your wallet, there's a very good chance you'll get it back.
— Mark & Mary Esther Penner

Japan is very safe and comfortable, but loneliness is a huge problem. Society is hugely varied and full of contradictions, which gives you a lot to ponder! Also, Tokyo has an awesome underground music scene if you know where to look.
— Ken & Bola Taylor

Japan is busy, bustling, and there is a heavy use of public transit.
— John Gibbs

Local News

The following is a live news feed mirrored from an independent news service, and offers a current stream of headlines coming out of the country. WorldVenture does not control headlines, but only "mirrors" them from other websites.

japan source:bbc - Google News
Japan: 'Solo weddings' for single women - BBC News

BBC News

Japan: 'Solo weddings' for single women
BBC News
A travel agency in one of Japan's most beautiful cities, Kyoto, has started organising bridal ceremonies for single women. Kyodo news agency reports that Cerca Travel's two-day "solo wedding" package includes choosing your own special gown, bouquet and ...

Monday, December 22, 2014 6:40:34 AM

Could women help fix broken Japan? - BBC News

BBC News

Could women help fix broken Japan?
BBC News
Abenomics is the term Japan's Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, has, in a rather self-aggrandising way, given to his plan to get Japan's economy out of deflation, and back in to growth. When he launched it nearly two years ago there was much fanfare and much ...
Japan election: Why do 70% of Japanese women give up work?

Saturday, December 13, 2014 3:12:15 PM

Japan election: Voters back Shinzo Abe as PM wins new term - BBC News

BBC News

Japan election: Voters back Shinzo Abe as PM wins new term
BBC News
Japan's ruling coalition has won a new two-thirds majority in parliamentary elections seen as a referendum on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's economic policy. Japanese media reported that Mr Abe's Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) retained its House of ...
Abe win fails to boost Japan's Nikkei

Sunday, December 14, 2014 12:10:23 PM

Japan's third quarter recession deeper than estimated - BBC News

BBC News

Japan's third quarter recession deeper than estimated
BBC News
Japan's economy shrank more than initially estimated in the third quarter of 2014, according to revised gross domestic product (GDP) figures. The economy contracted by 1.9% in annual terms from July to September, well above a preliminary reading of 1.6%.
Japan's early elections are all about the economy

Monday, December 08, 2014 12:01:12 AM

Japan 'could preserve' damaged 2011 tsunami sites - BBC News

BBC News

Japan 'could preserve' damaged 2011 tsunami sites
BBC News
A panel in Japan has put forward a plan to protect four buildings damaged by the 2011 tsunami and earthquake. The buildings in Miyagi prefecture include an elementary school which was hit by fire and a near-destroyed government office building.

Thursday, December 18, 2014 12:22:31 PM

This feed has 5 articles on 1 page


Opportunity TitleMinimum StayMaximum StayWorld AreaCountryOppSummaryOppResponsibilitiesOppRequirementsOppID
MK / International School Faculty & Staff1 YearRenewableAsiaJapanChristian Academy of Japan is looking for faculty and staff to help equip their students to impact the world for Christ.Current Openings: Speech & Language Therapist. See website for updated information: ww.caj.or.jpBorn-again Christian who models a Christ-like lifestyle. Skills, training, and experience appropriate to the position. Bachelor's degree and ACSI or government teacher certification. Clearly articulated philosophy of Christian education. Commitment to acquire a basic knowledge of Japanese. Active participation in a local church. Emotional maturity and good judgment. 1075

We're Open to New Ideas

We have many opportunities requested by our teams, but we're open to new ideas. God has moved us into over 60 countries by bringing us people with vision, passion and calling. If you don't find an opportunity that fits, or doesn't fully fit ... let's talk. Our first priority is relationship (i.e. "Are we a good fit for each other? You and WorldVenture"). Once that is clear, we will walk with you into almost anything.

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Missionary Team

Janet Brown

Coordinating short-term missions in Japan

Mark & Mary Esther Penner

Japanese Sign Language Bible translation, wheelchair distribution, Deaf community development

Bri Sample

Using English as a tool to share the love of Christ

John Gibbs

Equipping the Japanese church with high-tech evangelism and outreach

Greg & Asa Swenson

Serving in evangelism and discipleship ministries in partnership with the church in Japan

Bri Sample

Using English as a tool to share the love of Christ

Leon & Cheryl Hill

Evangelizing, discipling and planting churches in Japan

Ken & Bola Taylor

Sharing the gospel in Japan through church planting, leadership training, music and the arts

Phoua Vang

Sharing the Gospel with Japanese through English language learning and friendship evangelism

Kevin & Kaori Laverman

Establishing a church for returnees in Kawasaki, Japan

Andy & June Meeko

Developing tools and training nationals for emotional care and evangelism.

Patrick & Megan LaPoint

Sharing the gospel with Japanese through martial arts, educational conversation, and community.

Evangelizing the Peoples of the World

With respect for people and their cultures, we communicate, by word and deed, the full scope of biblical truth and, especially, the gospel. We make disciples of Jesus Christ among all peoples through different kinds of evangelism..

Relationships Being Cultivated with Non-Believers

We seek to build and nurture authentic relationships with people who have no knowledge of Jesus Christ with whom we can share our faith. Paul asks, 'How are they to believe in the one they have not heard of?' Romans 10:14. The answer is that they can't. It is our desire for those who have never heard the gospel or never understood it to have the chance know God. Many times a true opportunity to hear the gospel requires an environment of trust and friendship first.

Scriptures: Matt 28:18-20, Rom 10:14, 1 John 4:19.


Decisions to Follow Christ

We recognize both the internal conversion of the heart and external profession of faith as milestones in the journey of obedience to Jesus Christ. We encourage new believers to identify themselves as Christ-followers in ways that are recognized as authentic in the local context.

Scriptures: Romans 10:10, Matthew 5:14-16, Eph. 4:20-24, Mark 16:15 .


Believers Baptized

Baptism is another external milestone in the journey of obedience for a new believer. We encourage new Christ-followers to further identified themselves with Jesus Christ and the local community of faith through baptism by immersion.

Scriptures: Romans 6:3-6, Galatians 3:27, Matthew 28:19-20.


People Engaged in Intentional Discipleship

We nurture reasonable steps taken to pursue spiritual growth and evangelism from Christians and non-Christians. This often looks like greater depth in comprehending biblical truths and expressing their growing faith in ways meaningfully in their own culture.

Scriptures: Hebrews 10: 24-25, Eph. 4:11-17, Matthew 28: 18-20.


Bible Verses Translated and Christian Resources Created or Translated

We actively invest time and talent into Bible translation and creation of Christian media knowing that these investments will expand and deepen the influence of the gospel in a culture.

Scriptures: Acts 2:8-11, Philippians 2:9-11, Acts 13:47-49, Acts 8:26-39.

Extending Grace

Following the example of Jesus, we address human suffering and practical needs everywhere we share the gospel, whether it be through individual acts of mercy or community-wide programs.

Helping People through Development Assistance

Lasting community development is only achieved by insiders. Meaning, we assisted people in their own development efforts in the areas of acquiring sustainable food, water, shelter, literacy, vocational training, education, and employment. Our explicit goal is empowerment, dignity, and community ownership.

Scriptures: Deuteronomy 10:18, 1 Samuel 2:8, Psalm 145:15-16, Luke 12:33.


People Provided with Medical & Health Assistance

The grace and blessing of medical care where there is no other access to medical help is one of the longest standing outreaches of WorldVenture. Our hospitals and rural clinics dot some of the most difficult locations in the world.

Scriptures: Jeremiah 33:6, Isaiah 40:29, Matt 19:2.


Justice for those in Illegal, Immoral, & Dangerous Circumstances

We seek out those who have become vulnerable and fallen to the advantage of other people. We advocate for them within available legal systems, or we build exits and avenues for them to leave their circumstances.

Scriptures: Isaiah 43:2, Psalm 72:4, Isaiah 51:4-5, Ezekiel 34:15-16, Psalm 82:3-4.


Helping People Directly through Disaster Relief

In large scale disasters which are within locations we have workers and churches, we bring help directly to the people effected by the disaster. Our networks are often the most established in the communities to the point that larger relief organizations will defer to us on the ground. Yet our strategies always extend past the immediate response to include some form of rebuilding and restoration.

Scriptures: 1 Cor 16:1-4, Psalm 145:15-16, Philippians 4:19.


Establishing Churches

Building his church is central to Jesus’ purposes. We strive to establish healthy local churches that will establish other churches, resulting in church planting movements.

New Churches Established

Recognizing that church planting is typically more of a process rather than a one-time event, we speak of a church as being "established" when the local church and its local sister churches recognize it as such. We value real growth of the church, and use milestones like this to give us benchmarks to celebrate.

Scriptures: Matthew 28:18-20, Romans 15:20-21, Matthew 18:20, 1 Timothy 4:13, Acts 16:4-5.


Daughter Churches Established

 Another milestone we encourage as a mark of a maturing church is the multiplication of daughter churches. More than anything this is a sign of the outward growth and maturity of the faith community.

Scriptures: Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 16:4-5, Romans 15:20-21, Ephesians 2:19-22.


Equipping Leaders

We develop leaders who are able to lead others in contextualizing and maximizing their Kingdom impact – locally, regionally, and around the world.

Leaders Being Trained for Ministry through Formal Contexts

Leadership Development

Our workers staff numberous formal seminaries and bible schools as teachers or administrators. We know that people being equipped in and for ministry through formal degree/diploma granting institutions is an investment in the future health and vitality of the church.

Scriptures: Proverbs 2:10-11, Luke 2:45-47, Proverbs 1:1-7.


Leaders being Trained for Ministry through Non-Formal Contexts

Leadership Development

In addition to formal academic training, we encourage leadership development through non-formal ministry training seminars, courses, and programs. These programs are equally as powerful for deepening and establishing churches through informed and mature lay leaders.

Scriptures: Psalm 32:8, Psalm 119:105, John 10:3-4.


TCKs (Third Culture Kids) being Equipped

Experience has taught us that some of the most natural and effective future missionaries come from the children of our current missionaries. Not only does the investment in these children make it possible for their parents to work in remote locations, most of the international schools in which we partner encourage the personal ministry and impact these children can have while on the field.

Scriptures: Deuteronomy 4:9, Matthew 18:2-5, 1 Timothy 4:12.


"360º Leaders" being Equipped

Our 360° vision for impacting societies recognizes that there are a handful of key roads to impacting in any given city or provence or people group. For example, business and media are key influencers in a society, but often fall outside designated leadership tracks like pastors and teachers. We encourage the development of Christian leaders who will influence society through business, politics, medicine, media, social justice, and family and community development.

Scriptures: John 17:15-19, Colossians 3:23-24, 1 Corinthians 14:12, Romans 12:6-8, Matthew 25:23.


Encouraging Mission Movements

We will encourage individuals, churches, and church movements everywhere to connect with each other and other organizations, creating international relationships for networking, collaborating, and partnering to do missions “from everywhere to everywhere.”

National Christians Preparing to Become Missionaries

We encourage the natural progression of a maturing national church by advocating for the training and development of national Christians to become missionaries. Crossing-cultures is always difficult, even for those who are born and raised in multi-lingual, multi-cultural environments, and preparation can be a key element in the succeess of a national missionary.

Scriptures: Psalm 144:1, Galations 3:28, Psalm 32:8, Isaiah 61:1.


National Churches Engaged in Cross-Cultural Missions

In addition to individuals going out as missionaries, we encourage national churches to engage in missions.

Scriptures: Romans 10:15, John 15:1-27, Matthew 9:35-38.


National Church Groups Engaged in Cross-Cultural Missions

From the individual to the church and then finally to the multi-church association, we encourage many national church groups and church associations to engaged in missions. We seek a culture of outward movement and self-sacrifice as a healthy part of a national church.

Scriptures: 2 Corinthians 8:1-7, 2 Corinthians 9:10-12, Romans 10:15.




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