- believers to reach out to neighbors and friends with Christ’s love
- new young leaders to be awakened to service in ministry and pursue training
- domestic church-planting efforts
- more individuals committed to world missions
- a developing openness in the current generation to hear about God despite cultural influences of materialism and individualism
The Japan FMC became a general conference in 1961 and was reorganized in 1984. The general conference remains committed to church planting in Japan, where only 1 to 2% of people are Christians. They plan to plant churches in large cities, from which satellite units will be launched. A pastoral training program at both graduate and undergraduate levels is available at Osaka Theological Seminary. Osaka Christian College, a junior college with a strong witness, is located on the same campus.
Paul Kakihara, a young man from Japan who attended Greenville College in Illinois, pioneered Free Methodist missions in Japan in 1895. He first evangelized on the island of Awaji, in Osaka Bay. There he joined forces with Teikichi Kawabe who was also preaching on the island. Mr. Kawabe became the leader in laying the foundation for the Japanese Free Methodist Church. The first North American missionaries arrived in 1903.
The work spread from the island to the great commercial center of Osaka. Mr. Kawabe founded Osaka First Church, at one time Free Methodism’s largest congregation. He began Bible classes that grew into Osaka Theological Seminary.
The church became a general conference in 1961, then reorganized in 1984.
Bishop Ichiro Baba
Japan General Conference
Gene and Minori Hall began serving in Japan in August 2019. With Christians comprising only 1% of the population, there is an urgent need for the gospel in Japan. The Halls serve in the area of leadership training in Southeast Asia and Japan, working to equip...
Chris and Yuko Wilkins are FMWM missionaries with a vision to encourage discipleship in the church and help believers be involved in kingdom building. Chris and Yuko are training pastors and laity to multiply their faith. Train & Multiply is an obedience-based...
Prayercast | Japan
Love Asia 3.5 – Ikumi
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Japan is often described as a missionary graveyard. The hard work and effort put into sharing the gospel often seems to bear little spiritual fruit and is discouraging. With Christians making up less than 1% of the population, churches are small, and many pastors and members are aging. Yet, as we spend time visiting the Free Methodist churches here in the Osaka area, we are hopeful. We are meeting many faithful and faith-filled brothers and sisters in Christ.
Here are a few of their stories giving evidence of God’s Spirit at work in Japan:
- Population: 127,008,488
- Evangelical Christians: 0.58%
- FM Work Opened: 1895
- FM Churches: 27
- FMC Membership: 571
- Bishop: Ichiro Baba
- Ecclesiastical Accountability: Free Methodist World Conference