Japan: The Time is Now!

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You’ve no doubt heard this one before: “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”. It’s a phrase that’s been drilled into some of us since we were kids. It’s making itself particularly evident right now in Japan. The massive earthquake has given the church an unprecedented opportunity to show its care.

And it has!

The church has stepped up in solidarity, and is confronting a myriad of the immediate, pressing needs that abound. The church’s blistered, dirty hands have created a whole new openness to listening to the heart behind the actions.

From the EFCCM’s perspective, some of the largest donations for this effort have come from our Chinese-Canadian churches. This is a huge testimony of the bridges that Christ makes across stark differences of faith, culture and geography. We are so grateful for the generosity of our Chinese-Canadian brothers and sisters!

Most of the essential physical needs are now being met. People who have been evacuated, or who have lost everything are still housed in shelters. Those shelters now have sufficient supplies to provide people with their basic necessities. Life is resuming as much as is possible considering the conditions. People are returning to work, and the country is rebuilding.

But there is still great need. Many need to grieve, and express their deep sorrow even when their loved ones will likely never be identified. People need to confront their fear and anxiety. They need to embrace hope and choose life. All of these are tough problems in a nation that is as emotionally closed as Japan is. Generally, there is an unwillingness to talk about these deep issues. Sometimes wearing a clown wig helps to break down barriers, and Kurt’s certainly willing to do that!

But it’s happening. It’s happening one-on-one as people open up about their experiences and their perceptions. It’s happening as individuals allow Christians into their lives, and to pray for them.

The church must make the most of this opportunity. There are unsavoury people who are trying to capitalise on this disaster for their own gains. They look helpful, but there are strings attached to their ‘charity’, and gang ties are evident. May we be vigilant for how we can be Christ’s hands and feet in this situation, and to offer everything that we can to Japan’s injured people.

Japan: A Lighter Note

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Sort of a switch to see North Americans clowning for the camera in Japan, isn’t it? (Because Home Office is located on Canada’s West Coast, we’re pretty used to seeing Japanese tourists having fun with their cameras around these parts.) Pictured here are Melvin, Daryl and Erin.

I’m glad that we have a moment like this to share — it’s a contrast with all of the continuing need and effort in Japan. (Kurt sent a couple of these pictures, and said we “gotta use one”!)

Update on Earthquake Relief

Kurt is about to head back to Sendai to further analyse the region’s needs, and to engage them himself in whatever ways are possible. We hope to have a more complete report available from him and Dale soon, both about what CRASH has achieved, and what the EFCCM specifically has contributed.

We are blessed and humbled by the generosity of donors, who are continuing to invest in relief and assistance despite the fact that this event has mostly slipped off the larger media’s radar.

Join Our Home Office Team!

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This is a rare opportunity to join the dynamic, vivacious staff  at Home Office. You can see all of the details by downloading the role description below:

Office Administrative Assistant & Receptionist Role Description

The application process is open now, and will close on May 12, 2011.

This new role is highly strategic. It is a key touchpoint for pretty much everything that we do here. We’d appreciate you passing this link on to anyone you know that could handle such a varied set of tasks and responsibilities. And we’d also greatly appreciate your prayers as we move forward in this!

For further positions that are open throughout the EFCC, click here.

PulseTV Welcomes New Asia Area Director

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We’re really excited to have Melvin join us at the EFCCM as Asia Area Director. He has jumped into the role with both feet, and is in fact currently visiting the EFCCM’s missionaries and ministries in Japan, Thailand and the Philippines. We appreciate his enthusiasm, his perspective and his compassionate nature, and we trust that God will do great things through his leadership.

Why is Planting Churches so Important Anyway?

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The stats are staggering. The challenge is massive. These are the current facts, according to Impact Canada (emphasis added):

  • In Canada there are close to 24 million people who do not have a personal relationship with Christ!
  • Nearly 82% of all Canadians have no meaningful church relationship!
  • According to Outreach Canada demographic research, only 18% of Canadians attend church regularly. In urban centres…only 5% of the population can be categorized as consistent church attendees!
  • No single city or province in Canada has a greater percentage of churched people today than a decade ago.
  • Among existing churches in Canada, 80% are characterized as plateaued, declining, or disintegrating.
  • Evangelical churches have failed to gain an additional 2% of the Canadian population in the past 50 years. In other words, we are not even reaching our own children!
  • Evangelical planting (1.6% annually) falls behind population growth (1.9% annually).
  • North America is the ONLY continent where Christianity is not growing!
  • 230,000 new Canadians have immigrated annually during the last decade. The majority are Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Buddhist or Confucian – the “mission field” is here.
  • Canadians dying without Christ: 165,000 souls each year.

Those numbers are overwhelming! But we believe that our God longs to make a difference in our country. To bring restoration to damaged people. To bring purpose to the listless. To give comfort to the broken-hearted. One definition of the Hebrew word “shalom” is “nothing broken, nothing missing”. We long to see the EFCC become God’s instrument of that kind of shalom in Canada.

Pray for our new churches, our church-planters, for our Districts and our leaders — we need God to grow this vision, to empower all of us to engage the challenge, and to orchestrate how our whole movement works together to make it happen.

The scope of the numbers above boggle the mind. But we believe that God is showing us that our opportunity is unprecedented. We can and must act now!