Every time I have the opportunity to visit another country and happen to be there over a Sunday I try and meet with the gathered body of believers from that area. I've been with the church in South America, Mexico, China, India, and now Japan.
Our vision trip today allowed us to meet with the believers that make up Shinshu Community Church in Miyota, Japan. We didn't see a large, mega-church full of programs, paid staff and nice facilities. We saw a small (think less than 30) church of believers learning to grow as gospel-centered and gospel-fluent people for the sake of their city and region. The church is led by an American missionary and a Japanese man that he has trained to be the pastor of the church. Their vision is to be a church that grows and replicates itself in making disciples and planting church within the region. What I love so much about this vision is that it is a vision to be the faithful, fruitful people of God in the midst of a region that deeply needs the gospel.
It was beautiful to join with them in praising Christ, to see them humble themselves to the Word and to engage in community with one another. The church, although small, is working to see the gospel impact every area of their lives and culture. I was so encouraged to meet with like-minded leaders who are working towards gospel-centrality in their churches and cities whether they are in the largest of cities or the smaller less populated regions of Japan.