Frequently Asked Questions about the Japan CPI Mission Trip
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What is CPI?
CPI is the Church Planting Institute, a highly intentional, remarkably unified, inter-denominational network of missionaries to Japan, and Japanese pastors, committed to “advance God’s Kingdom by Mentoring Leaders to be a part of a Movement that is multiplying churches that are multiplying Disciples through the POWER OF THE GOSPEL.”
CPI provides what is quite evidently the best opportunity in Japan for missionary training, learning, developing vision for ministry, networking and personal spiritual renewal.
Why is CPI necessary?
Missionaries in Japan, while surrounded by relative wealth, technology and convenience, are also surrounded by a culture that is at once both ignorant of and hostile to Christianity. They are safe, and free to preach the gospel, but they do so from within a monolithic, largely pantheistic and atheistic society whose history and culture is virtually devoid of Christian influence in any form. This makes it quite different from South America and most of Africa, Europe and the Soviet states. And most of these missionaries work in almost total isolation from other English speaking people. The typical church has 30 members, all Japanese, where all of the worship, preaching and fellowship is in Japanese. The result of all this is a “burnout rate” for missionaries in Japan that is one of the highest in the world. CPI’s commitment to networking and personal spiritual renewal has been a huge factor in the lives of hundreds of missionaries there.
Why does CPI need to have people come all the way from America to help?
While God has used CPI powerfully, it operates on a virtual “shoestring”, with only one paid staffer. This year’s conference is simply too big for them to manage. What’s more, even if they had the money (which they don’t), they can’t “hire” what they need.
Second, it is so important that not only the missionaries, but perhaps especially their wives to be encouraged, renewed and equipped. But unless there is good child care, the wives simply can’t attend. And we will not simply be baby sitting! (if we sent enough money, they might be able to hire baby-sitters). We will be providing a quality children’s ministry program, both substantive and fun. We will be ministering to these missionary children in a way they have never had the opportunity to enjoy. And we will be modeling to their parents the kinds of things they can begin to reproduce in their own churches and communities. In short, we will be doing for them what they are not equipped yet to do in Japan.
In addition, we will be providing technical and administrative support that is essential for an effective, non-distracting environment for the worship, learning and renewal that we pray will be taking place.
If the “soil” is so hard in Japan, and it is so expensive to send missionaries there, wouldn’t we be better off supporting missions in India or China or South America, where the dollar goes further and the “soil” is better?
Let’s remind ourselves that God’s economy is almost always completely “upside-down” from our notion of things (“for My ways are higher than your ways …” Is. 55:8-13). Then let’s remember how “impossibly” hard the soil was in China 75 years ago … and how soft it is now, even if the gospel there is still “underground”! Then let’s ask God if He really has enough resources (“the cattle on a thousand hills”) to send His people to preach the gospel even in that most expensive of places called Japan. And while we’re at it, let’s ask if maybe He’d rather just skip Japan, because it’s such an expensive place, and the people there don’t seem to need for much, and they seem to be pleased with their own gods. Then … You get the point.
But let’s finish by observing that the “soil” in Japan is improving … by God’s gracious design. He has been working things out according to His will in many ways there, to the end that we are seeing a real increase in the openness of Japanese people to the gospel. Our missionaries are rejoicing in the number of new conversions they are seeing … in the growth of the churches, and in what seems to be the start of a mighty flame of gospel fire in Japan. May we be blessed by playing a part in this!
- One of the largest un-reached people groups in the world (Less than 1/3 of 1% are Christians).
- The third most powerful economy in the world.
- A convergence of economic and cultural crises have humbled the Japanese people and opened them up to the gospel to an unprecedented extent.
- Signs of an emerging, powerful move of the Holy Spirit in Japan.
- Japanese people have access to most of the Muslim countries that Americans are locked out of, and they are also “cultural leaders” in much of Asia. A strong, mission-sending church in Japan could be enormously effective in much of the un-reached populations that are closed to us.
- Many of the missionary teams who have been motivated and equipped through the CPI in years past are now seeing real gospel fruit in their own lives, in churches planted, in souls saved.
- It appears that the Holy Spirit is moving in Japan mightily, giving us a wonderful opportunity to move with Him in the Great Campaign!