Practically all of our churches in Japan have their own church buildings and property. They conduct their own affairs and pay their own expenses. Not all have a minister full-time, or pay their minister full salary. This means that many ministers must support themselves by outside jobs. As a result they have less time and energy for evangelism.

The favored method of self-support is to have a kindergarten in connection with the church. This can also be a real method of evangelism if used as such. Not many do so effectively. The Kanoya church, in the Kagoshima area, estimates that over half of their new converts come from families of kindergarten students. This is putting the method to its proper use.

The churches of Japan have a convention each year in a different geographical area. This convention is now 30 years old. It is a free convention. There are no delegates. No business of any kind is conducted. The church or the churches in the area host the convention and plan the complete program. The missionaries have a similar convention near the time when the Japanese convention is held. It is operated on the same terms except that the program is in English. Anyone may attend.

There is no supra-church organization of any kind. 25 years ago a number of ministers who had flirted with the Kyodan during the war or were enamored with its organizational structure tried to set up a similar organization among our churches. They were soundly defeated. Six of these ministers then formed their own Preacher's Union (Domei). They were able to capture some very valuable properties and to introduce open membership into their churches. However, they have made no progress in getting other churches or ministers to accept their position since that time.

The Domei churches in Tokyo are: Wakaba Cho, Setagaya, Nishiogikubo, Yochomachi, Abiko church in Chiba Pref. and Asahi church in Osaka a total of six. (These churches are not included in the total number of churches listed elsewhere.)

Ordinary tensions exist in the churches and sometimes extraordinary ones between Japanese minister and missionary. The ones that I know about exist when the minister wants to move theologically and organizationally to the denominational mold. The Japanese minister truly appreciates and treasures the freedom in Christ that he has as a minister of a local church. At the same time, he would like to have complete authority in the local church as many denominational ministers do. I expect such tensions to continue but not to divide.

Because of our liberty in Christ, each is able to pursue his own work in his own way and to cooperate on a voluntary basis. This helps to relieve tensions.

The Japanese church then is stable. Most of the churches are situated so they can last into the future. This will not happen, however, unless the present ministry reproduces itself. I do not see this happening at present.

The Japanese church is basically self-supporting and self-governing. In the area of self- propagation it is weak. However, a start has been made. Prof. Akira Oda is minister of the Daito Church of Christ which meets in his own home; Chieko Tsuruda leads a home church in Hyotan Yama, also in Daito, Osaka; Etsuzo and Lydia Kishi first held a home meeting in Hiroshima City and when they moved to the edge of the city they started the Tomo Church of Christ which meets in a chapel on their property; and two years ago, M/M Hideto Yoshii began a church in their own house in the town of Onga, northern Kyushu. The church is growing.

Japanese ministers are active in holding home meetings and regular Bible studies in outlying places. New churches, however, started by Japanese with their own resources and on their own volition and meeting every Sunday in their own places of worship are rare.

This is cause for concern. It should also be cause for reflection on the part of the missionaries. In teaching and in example, the missionary should be leading his Japanese counterpart in outreach.