Japan Cell Church Mission Network (JCMN) was launched in 1998, one year after CCMN was established. During the beginning stage JCMN did some seminars, camps and publications to share the vision of cell church and expand the network among churches in Japan. The Lord blessed us in many ways, but the network was not strongly developed, as the pastors and leaders tried to “get” something for their own churches rather than “give” something to bless other churches.
Then JCMN began to strengthen its network since we started its first “Coaching Network” in 2006. Four pastors who had already developed cell churches began to coach seven other pastors in Kansai (a western part of Japan) with the help of Pastor Ben Wong. The coaches walked alongside of those pastors who want to do cells in their churches by regularly spending time with them, listening to them, and helping them to make proper decisions.
We made it our core value to “give” or “contribute to” the network rather than “get” something from the network, as the Scripture says, “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). There was no condition for a pastor to participate in the Coaching Network except that he would coach other pastors when he would become ready.
We began to see the changes taking place in the pastors’ lives, their families and their churches. Then the pastors in other regions started Coaching Networks one by one and the Coaching Networks began to multiply. As of October 2016, there are 12 Coaching Networks in Japan, some of which are the 4th generation networks (considering the first Coaching Network started in 2006 as the 1st generation). We now have about 30 coaches and 70 coachees in all across our country.
Coaching Networks began to grow more when we started using the “Seven Essence of Church” as its framework. As pastors began to practice implementing the seven essence with the help of their coaches, they have seen their own lives, their families, and their churches changed and become lively and positive in Christ. And as the relationships among the pastors have become close, the relationships among the churches have also become strengthened. We have been experiencing that we are one body and one church.
Pastor Yamashita, one of the regional coordinators and key coaches, often visits different pastors in his region to share about the Coaching Network and has found out that most of the pastors agree with the seven essence of church and that about half of them show interest in learning about it. He then says that about one quarter of them come to the Coaching Network seminars and that some of them become serious enough to ask him to provide them with coaches. Pastor Yamashita believes that hundreds of pastors in Japan may potentially join the Coaching Networks in the future, since there are so many pastors who look for someone to understand them and help them practically.
Coaching Networks have also become the foundation for other ministries in JCMN:
Short-term mission (STM): JCMN has been organizing its own STM every summer since 2009, and the number of participants grew to 28 in 2016. Most of them are from the churches that are part of Coaching Networks, so the follow-up is quite smoothly done as we have strong relationships
Youth Disciplers Summit (YDS): YDS is to encourage youth leaders and youth to make disciples and help their disciples to make other disciples. We had the first YDS in March 2015 and the youth leaders in JCMN have begun to expand and strengthen their network since then. Almost all of such youth leaders are from the churches that are part of Coaching Networks.
Church-based Social Contributions: We had a gathering for those who have burden to reach out the people who are socially disadvantaged to discuss how we would work together as churches.
JCMN will continue to expand and strengthen the Coaching Networks in order for the churches in Japan to restore their health and work together. We also believe that the Coaching Networks will continue to stimulate the churches in Japan to keep making disciples of Jesus, reaching their communities, evangelizing different cities and towns and participating in world mission. Please pray with us.