Bible training for Christian workers is vitally needed and provided by 125 denominational and interdenominational seminaries and Bible schools. Pray for a new generation of pastors; 70% are over age 50. Leadership transition can be difficult and sensitive in a society that so reveres the elderly. Particularly notable are Asian Access’s Japan Growth Institute (where 1% of Japan’s pastors have been trained – but that 1% accounts for 90% of church growth in the country) and JEMA’s Church Planting Institute. A number of theological institutions are also doing admirable work. Financial constraints are one of the biggest challenges facing students/pastors; pray for provision.
The missions vision of Japanese Christians is noteworthy. There are up to 300 Japanese serving in 34 lands around the world. However, churches generally have little vision for missions and little understanding of the challenges facing cross-cultural missionaries. Mission training programmes for prospective Japanese missionaries are increasing, both in Japanese and in English. The Japanese Overseas Missions Association has a membership of over 20 Japanese agencies.