We are part of the Grace Church Planting Network, which was originated out of Redeemer City to City church planting network. The first church plant in Tokyo took many years to launch. You can read about some of the history of Tokyo church plants on the blog.
By God's grace we now have a cohort of new church planters meeting regularly. We call it the "Grace City Church Planting Network" and potential church planters receive training and coaching through a program called the "Samurai Project." Seima Aoyagi (Grace Harbor Church) and Ryuta Kimura (OO Cross Church) are a few who have already launched. My name is Drew Cho, I'm originally of Korean ancestry, and I'm planting New City Church Tokyo— the fourth church started in this network. Our goal is to see a tenth church starting up by the year 2020.
So what does a church planting network look like and mean for those considering starting a church? Potential church planters meet together regularly to learn, teach, and serve through the Samurai Project. For example, they might learn the basics of preparing, organizing, and delivering gospel messages, and then actually deliver 10-minute Bible talks at Lunchtime Meetings with center-city professionals, both Christians and non-Christians.
Lunchtime Meetings are held on weekdays, for center-city professionals, at restaurants nearby their offices in five strategic locations in central Tokyo. Grace City Church Planting Network pastors and others deliver Bible talks and mentor the participants. During the last quarter, we covered themes including Questions by Non-Christians, Basic Christianity, Christian Arts, and Christian Life, studying verses from Acts, Mark, Genesis and James.
Since we do not have appointed church officers yet, we have a board to oversee our church plant. The board members are all fellow church planters from the network, and one missionary.
Tokyo is one of the four most influential cities in the world and the heart of Japanese culture. There are very few Christians in the city, and over 95% of the people have never heard the gospel. There are also numerous social problems. The gospel is the only solution for the people of Tokyo.
This network is not only interested in starting few self-sustaining churches in center Tokyo, but it is committed to supporting more gospel-centered church plants in Tokyo in order work together to impact the city.