The Church Planting Institute is an organization dedicated to serving the missionaries and pastors in Japan. The main focus of their program is on the CPI annual conference, held every November near Mt Fuji. It is 4 days long, and consists of worship, prayer, encouragement, fellowship, and equiping for the missionaries and pastors who attend.
The first CPI conference was held 10 years ago with just 25 missionaries, and taught by Dr Steve Childers of Reformed Theological Seminary. In just these 10 years it has blossomed and grown beyond all imagination, with over 700 attendees last year. The program is divided into many tracks, ranging from church planting to youth ministry to worship. A homeschooling session was even held last year, and many other tracks are planned for the upcoming conference. Participants are also encouraged to network with others in their area to work together as churches and as fellow believers, providing much-needed support and encouragement. Many of these missionaries have been working alone for years, and this is an unbelievable help to their own faith and ministry.
Because of the rapid growth of the CPI conference, and the small staff, they have asked for help. Currently, CPI has only no full-time staff members, as John Mehn, who serves as the conference director, is only part-time. John and his wife Elaine form the backbone of the ministry, but they cannot do everything. They have asked for assistance in this upcoming conference in two major areas: administration and children’s ministry. Both of these are essential to the success of this ministry and the encouragement of the missionaries.
With over 700 missionaries and pastor registering, collecting manuals and material, and recieving room assignments and schedules on the very first day, the administration tasks are enormous. With our help, though, those tasks can be minimized and the load lessened for all involved. Beyond that, technical help is also needed in the sound and lighting crews, manpower in moving materials and equipment to their destinations, and a variety of other tasks.
At the CPI conference, we also provide a quality children’s program every year, running all day during the conference, which serves two very important purposes. First, it encourages the kids, who may not get to talk to any other English speaking children for the rest of the year, and often feel out of place in the culture of Japan. They certainly remember this time at the conference, looking forward to it all year round. Second, it provides the parents an opportunity to rest from their job of caring for this children for a little while, freeing them up to enjoy the conference and be encouraged and renewed. This may not seem like a big deal to many of us, but to these missionaries and pastors, this is a unique opportunity. Babysitting and nurseries are a foreign concept in Japan, and many churches do not have children’s church or nursery. Some of these parents tell us when they drop their children off in the morning that it is the first time they have been able to do anything without their children in years, sometimes even the first time ever. The relief is readily apparent on their faces as they head off to worship with their husbands and wives, something else that they may not have been able to do in a long time. The children’s program is the only reason some of the missionaries are able to come to the conference.
If you have any questions regarding the CPI ministry, please see our forum, and feel free to ask any questions you may have.
For more conference information, visit the official site of the CPI conference at http://www.jcpi.net/