Church planter makes a difference in Tokyo
Fueled by a passion for the lost and motivated by the lack of local churches in Tokyo, Bungo Kubota left his secure job as chief editor of a trans-denominational weekly Christian newspaper Revival Times Japan to become a church planter, blogger, and teacher. He’s part of a new generation of young leaders in Japan, networking together to share the Gospel in their city.
Bungo often frequents local coffee shops, using them as temporary offices while he blogs. It’s a medium that’s turned into an ministry tool – Bungo doesn’t write for believers but rather for unbelievers. Currently, his blog gets approximately 2,000 hits per day.
“It’s for those who are hungry and thirsty, who are looking for and seeking the truth of the Bible,” he says. “Many people want to read the Bible but they don’t know how. So I explain it through my blog, and sometimes I hold Bible seminars for my blog readers.”
After starting his blog, Bungo decided to pursue his desire to plant churches. He turned to Haggai International for training in 2010.
“Before I attended Haggai International I was a good Bible teacher, but after Haggai International I became a leader who has a vision. The training gave me a clear vision, mission, goal, strategy, and purpose.”
While there, he also developed relationships with other global leaders.
“It was a privilege to spend a month with leaders from around the world who were also students,” he says. “Because of Haggai, I now have a global prayer network with others from my group.”
Today, Bungo is pastoring his first church plant in Tokyo and has more than 20 people attending. The training he received at Haggai International has developed him into a dynamic leader, sharing his passion and heart with his congregation and those he disciples.
Bungo consistently uses his influence to impact Tokyo’s Christian community. He’s formed a network of Japanese youth pastors and actively invests in them, whether it’s taking a group to a Christian conference or helping them connect with other leaders. Each day he spends time providing individual discipleship training, teaching a Bible study, and leading a prayer ministry.
“Because of the earthquake and tsunami, there’s a lot of spiritual changing in Japan,” he remarks. “I believe it’s created an opportunity for spiritual awakening in the people. People say Japan’s number one religion is Buddhism or Shintoism, but, actually, most people here believe that they should live like others. They live in bondage trying to be like their neighbors, fearing that if they do something strange or different from others, people will hate them. We have to break that bondage.”
As the first person in his family to become a believer, Bungo knows what it’s like to be different in a culture that desires conformity. “Sometimes it makes me cringe, but because of this decision I feel I can be a more radical Christian believer. And not just a believer, but a disciple of Jesus himself.”
Bungo credits Haggai International with helping him understand the significance of global outreach and the impact that local churches can have on the world.
“Not only do I want to raise up new disciples of Jesus who can be church leaders, but I also wish for them to connect together and unite so we can expand his kingdom and magnify the Lord Jesus.”
Getting his church members involved in outreach and missions is a top priority for Bungo. He recently took a group of young people on a mission trip to the area damaged by the tsunami. The trip not only allowed him to minister to the people and start a church plant, but it also helped him understand the spiritual atmosphere in the region and connect with local pastors.
“Before the earthquake, if we tried to have a mission trip we’d have to go to the Philippines or Thailand or another nation,” he remarks. “But now we have a new opportunity to go inside our own country.
“I love Japanese people. They have very good hearts and are kind, gentle, and loyal but they don’t know these gifts are from God. If they can redeem those gifts by accepting Jesus Christ and then put those gifts to use for his kingdom, they will greatly affect the world.”
Church planter, blogger, and teacher
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