Japan’s unprecedented evangelistic meetings are only the beginning.
Seventh-day Adventist leaders now intend to hold evangelistic meetings at 2,019 sites across the entire Northern Pacific-Asia Division in 2019.
Division leaders approved the ambitious plan during midyear meetings on May 22-24, just as the bulk of Japan’s evangelistic meetings wrapped up. The Northern Pacific-Asia Division, whose territory includes Japan, has about 720,000 church members living among a population of 1.6 billion people.
“2,019 sites might be too humble when we think of 1.6 billion inhabitants,” said Si Young Kim, president of the Northern Pacific-Asia Division. “But as church leaders and members go forward with united hearts and with the TMI spirit, we believe the Lord will pour out His great blessings.”
TMI, or Total Member Involvement, is an Adventist world church initiative that encourages each member to lead someone to Christ. TMI evangelism has resulted in mass baptisms, including a record 110,000 people in Rwanda in May 2016, and has been credited with re-energizing church members in many places, including Japan.
Adventist Church president Ted N.C. Wilson, who led a three-week evangelistic series in Japan in May, welcomed the plan for division-wide meetings in 2019.
“The decision by Northern-Asia Pacific Division leaders to initiate 2019 Total Member Involvement evangelistic sites across the division is nothing short of phenomenal,” he said in an e-mailed statement (see sidebar). “This is the miraculous working of the Holy Spirit on the minds of church leaders.”
Wilson pointed out that several divisions are participating in similar work and urged all to join in.
“The Northern-Asia Pacific Division has embarked on what every division, union, local field, church, and church member around the world should be doing, and many are doing, as we look forward to Christ’s soon return,” he said.
Big Plans for 2019
South Korea is expected to host the largest number of sites — 1,000 — in 2019. The sites will be scattered across the division’s territory, including 110 sites in Japan, 110 sites in Taiwan, 29 sites in Mongolia, and 20 sites in Hong Kong.
Dates have not been finalized, but the meetings could be held in May and June in South Korea, Taiwan, and Mongolia, and in October and November in Japan, Kim said.
“We believe God will be with us in our plans,” he said in an interview. “The Northern Asia-Pacific Division is a challenging field in terms of mission. Huge waves of secularism and materialism, including political restrictions, exist in the territory. But we cannot stop mission to 1.6 billion people.”
He said the 2019 plan has drawn inspiration from the “All Japan 2018 Maranatha” evangelistic meetings, which are being held at 161 sites from March to June. Seventy people had been baptized as of May 19, Ron Clouzet, ministerial director for the Northern Asia-Pacific Division, tweeted May 23 from the midyear meetings in Sapporo, Japan.
Kim praised God for the baptisms and said church members were especially blessed during preparations for the meetings.
“People have experienced a spiritual revival through prayers and by depending only on the power of the Holy Spirit,” he said. “As we close this series, we do not think it is the end. It is a new beginning. The churches in Japan have started to move for mission, and they are going forward.”
Visiting Speakers React
Japanese pastors and lay people led most of the meetings, but speakers also included Wilson and others from world church headquarters.
One of the visiting speakers, Williams Costa Jr., communication director for the Adventist world church, said he was impressed by members’ enthusiastic embrace of Total Member Involvement.
“The most inspiring thing that I observed during this visit to Japan was the total involvement of pastors, members, and preachers from other parts of the world,” he said. “I witnessed the happiness and gratitude of people watching baptisms and making decisions for Christ.”
Gerson Santos, associate secretary for the Adventist world church, noted the challenges of reaching Japan’s largely non-Christian population but expressed hope that immigrants could help make inroads in sharing the gospel.
“I think a revival among immigrants could bring support to the work among the Japanese,” said Santos, a Brazilian native, who preached at a Portuguese-speaking church in Kakegawa, Japan.
“It takes a while to be integrated in a close traditional culture like this,” he said. “However, I believe the children of immigrants might be able to create a bigger impact in the future of the church as they learn the language and become more integrated in Japanese society.”
The key to any evangelistic effort, however, is prayer, church leaders said. Artur Stele, a general vice president of the Adventist world church, described how he prayed for five people to make decisions for Christ at his meetings at Tokyo Seventh-day Adventist International Church.
“However, only four people came up, and I was little puzzled,” he said of his altar call. “But what a joy I experienced when, in the overflow room in the basement, an additional two people stood up. In total, six people came: four in the main auditorium and two in the basement. We are praising the Lord for His work!”
‘Antidote to Laodicea’
Full statement from Adventist Church president Ted N.C. Wilson on the Northern-Asia Pacific Division’s plans for major evangelistic meetings in 2019.
The decision by Northern-Asia Pacific Division leaders to initiate 2019 Total Member Involvement evangelistic sites across the division is nothing short of phenomenal. This is the miraculous working of the Holy Spirit on the minds of church leaders.
Involving the lay members in TMI through earnest prayer, personal witnessing, many preparatory meetings, introductory community and spiritual activities, use of media and literature, Bible studies, and so much more is what God is desiring to see in His last-day, remnant church. Everyone staying close to Christ in their own personal lives and then doing something for Him in reaching others is the antidote to a Laodicean church.
The Northern-Asia Pacific Division has embarked on what every division, union, local field, church, and church member around the world should be doing, and many are doing, as we look forward to Christ’s soon return.
Total Member Involvement: Everyone doing something for Jesus! Pray for the latter rain of the Holy Spirit and get involved in the Lord’s work!