RJC Is Networking

(9/13/06)

What power there is in helping one another! Today I am reminded of how important the Reaching Japanese for Christ ministry of networking is. There are so many good things happening around the world as people reach out in love to Japanese who are living abroad. However, often these ministries are not well connected. Good Japanese pastors and churches are ministering to Japanese in the same city where English speaking churches and interdenominational programs are doing ESL ministries, homestays, campus ministries. However, the ministries carried on by the English speakers often are not connected, neither are they networked well with the Japanese ministries.

Dave Hackett shared this quote in an early comment. “When spiders unite, they can tie up a lion.”
— Quoted by Robert Ficken, The History of Washington (State), UW Press, 1989.

Back in March, 2006 Dave H. wrote up a short article about the personal benefits he had experienced because of the RJC Conference the month before.

How Networking Flows
by Dave Hackett

A participant at a recent computer conference described his excitement about the conference, saying, “I always meet someone here who I didn’t know I should know. We make a lot of connections that might take a lot of time if we didn’t have this.”

That is my experience attending the 2006 Reaching Japanese for Christ conference and its networking pre-conference in Bothell, Washington. Yes, I figured I would meet some new people. But I didn’t figure I would meet people I didn’t even know I should know! It speaks well of the serendipitous connections and connectional efficiency that happen through networks.

I’d like to paint a little picture of the web of relationships that, for me, has flowed out of my attendance at the RJC conference. Several stories illustrate how this network has been spreading ideas virally since the conference.

At the RJC networking pre-conference I shared briefly about the potential of using Internet evangelism to reach Japanese, and I passed around a flyer on that potential. Several people asked me to email copies of the flyer.
Andy Game, director of Japan ALPHA, wrote to say he was encouraged about that vision for using the Internet and other new media for evangelism with Japanese. He’ll explore ways to use it in his ministry. Meanwhile, he forwarded details about it to co-workers in Japan as well as to ALPHA’s Asia Pacific publishing director, Joy Yeo, in Singapore. Joy is developing new youth ALPHA resources for the Asia Pacific region. From Bothell to Tokyo to Singapore.

Judith Becker of Highland Park Presbyterian Church, Dallas, is taking this information on to her team, which might get involved in new ways because of our contact at the conference. From Bothell to Dallas and beyond.

John Mehn (Leadership Team Chair of the JEMA Church Planting Institute) and I had a chance to talk at the RJC conference. He forwarded my Internet evangelism flyer to the JEMA Church Planting Institute email group. One of those who got that group email is Wolfgang Langhans, OMF field director for Japan. From Bothell to JEMA to OMF.

Wolfgang Langhans, who got the flyer from John Mehn’s post on the email group, wrote to say that the flyer on Internet evangelism “has been stimulating and encouraging.” He brought the topic of Internet evangelism to his Field Council and the Council “decided to take this topic up seriously and see how we can get more involved in it.” He now wants to network as much as he can to use this tool and wants to know of any Internet evangelism network in Japan. And he’s looking for others with whom he can meet to discuss and learn from them about this approach. From Bothell to JEMA to a new focus for OMF Japan.

Several of the above people may attend the June 2006 conference of the Global Christian Internet Alliance in Seoul through the ongoing discussions we’ve been having following the RJC conference. From Bothell to Tokyo to Seoul.

These are all examples of what I like to call the “ever-expanding webs of relationships” that characterize lively and healthy networks. We call this kind of expansion and sharing of ideas and information “viral,” because it is passes from one to another and often from one to many all in one fell swoop.

This is how the Gospel has spread globally for 2,000 years. And it makes a great case for maximizing the networking capacities of the RJC network. May the Lord make more connections through and between us all for His glory and so that we might reach more Japanese for Christ!