A growing openness, a growing interest in Christian faith, and a growing presence of people who are really witnessing Christ—these are all the things that Patric Knaak, Serge’s Area Director for Renewal, rejoices in as he reflects on his recent time in Japan.
“This is one of the most exciting times to be involved in ministry in Japan since WWII,” Knaak says.
Yet, in a country where .58 percent identify as evangelical Christian and 2.2 percent profess any kind of Christian faith, there is also a need for people who lead ministries to be renewed in the hope of the gospel.
To help Japanese national leaders and international missionaries find Christ-centered renewal, this past February several U.S.-based Serge staff spent two weeks in Japan leading what is locally known as “Grace Weeks.” In the U.S. these gatherings are known as Sonship Weeks.
Serving from a Place of Need
Toward the beginning of the Japan Grace Weeks, the Serge staff met to pray for each other and the people local leaders they sought to serve.
Lindsay Kimball, Serge’s Discipler Training Program Leader, says the Serge team was well aware of their limitations. They were jetlagged and out of their element. Many of them were facing difficult discipling situations, and they weren’t quite sure how to help.
“We felt so weak and limited,” Kimball says. “These circumstances really made it clear that God is the one who transforms and changes and brings fruit. I think we all felt very dependent those two weeks.”
The team of nine Serge staff spent a week in Tokyo and a week in Nagoya serving missionaries and local church leaders. The Grace Weeks consisted of all-day sessions including lectures, prayer time, small groups, and more. The Serge team also provided individual mentoring for the 30-plus people who attended the events each week. Every day, each attendee had an hour of mentoring with a Serge staff member to help apply the truths of the gospel to life.
By the end of their time in Japan, the Serge team had seen God work in amazing ways, in spite of their limitations.