I have spent days considering what it means to reach Japanese Buddhists… and how to express it succinctly. I think of those I know, the stories I have heard, those who have come to Christ and those who have not yet. I reflect on the challenges of mission in Japan and reaching the Buddhist world.
All my musing brings me to this point. The Japanese, Buddhist or otherwise, are a people loved by God. And God has a plan and a purpose for the Japanese. Is missions in Japan easy? No. But what do we do? We continue to pray. We love. We live Christ and share his gospel with those that don’t know him.
But for those of us connecting with Japanese outside of Japan, how can we go about sharing the gospel with them? Here are a few thoughts.
• First and foremost - Pray! The greatest reality is that they need supernatural help to understand the gospel. Japanese culture and Buddhism work together to blind the eyes of the captives. Pray continually for the gospel to be understood and for God to touch Japanese hearts and lives in ways Buddhism cannot.
• Provide Christian community. For the Japanese, belonging to a group is very important. Many Japanese find themselves at a loss when outside of the group. Don’t just invite them to a church service. Rather, invite them into your home and daily life - not as an outside ‘guest’ but as a member of the family.
• Love them. The Japanese are a people who were made for love: to be loved by and to love God. In a culture where love is rarely demonstrated the love of Jesus is powerful. Many Japanese have come to know Jesus primarily because of the love they received from Christians.
• Living a Christlike life is always the best way. Model what it means to be a Christ-follower. Take time to embrace them, and their family. Show them a new way; show them how Christ can answer the areas of their life that Buddhism and Japanese culture cannot. And be ready to explain the truth of what it means to be a Christian.
For many Japanese outside of Japan there is a greater openness to the gospel; and a freedom from the pressure to conform. The possibility of another way becomes visible – to come into relationship with the one who created everything, and gave his life for the Japanese.