Church planting is alive and well
The 2019 CPI conference was the largest gathering yet
The 2019 CPI National Conference took place in November at the Tsumagoi Resort in Shizuoka. In the twenty-five-years of CPI, it was the largest gathering we’ve had. Nearly 500 adults gathered for gospel-centered teaching—as well as networking and encouragement; rest and renewal. In addition, over 220 kids participated in the kids’ program that takes place throughout the conference. For many of these kids, this conference is the highlight of their year.
A particular encouragement was the sense of unity amongst participants. Japanese pastors, church members, and missionaries came from all over the world, and dozens of networks, organizations, and denominations were represented. There were missionaries who had recently arrived in Japan and missionaries who have served there for twice as long as those new missionaries have been alive! But two things united us—a shared passion for the gospel and a passion to propel movements of church planting throughout every nook and cranny of Japan.
As always, this conference was not simply a gathering to learn new tips, tricks, and strategies for church growth and church planting. It was a practical help for many, and there were good sessions and seminars that addressed the nuts and bolts of church planting. People were equipped through the presentation of various ministry networks as well as seminars on discipleship, evangelism, developing leadership, small groups, and church multiplication.
But the conference also brought new vision and ideas as well as encouragement. Through the main worship sessions, the training, and many gospel-focused seminars, those who attended were reminded of the centrality of the gospel in their own lives, marriages, and families. This reminder refreshed many participants’ souls. At least 10 percent of adults had an appointment with one of the consultants (these included psychologists and an educational consultant)—the appointment schedules had filled up even before the conference began.
We are following up with leaders, churches, and networks who want to collaborate to multiply churches throughout Japan. The CPI Leadership Team is recalibrating to deal with a growing interest in church multiplication. But the real impact is in the lives that were transformed. We are grateful that God sent his Spirit to teach and guide us all. Here are some changes participants expect to see because of the conference:
- “I feel that I have been reminded, not only of the gospel, but my need for the gospel every day.”
- “I will wake up in the morning with a renewed sense of joy rather than fear, anxiety, and guilt.”
- “I saw the need for vision and equipping our people more!”
- “I will focus more on sharpening our training and multiplication.”
- “Getting to network with other church planters and hearing about things that are working in Japan has widened and informed my understanding of possible ways to plant [churches].”
We look forward to seeing the ripple effects of the conference. One thing that we are sure of is that God’s church is very much alive and vibrant in Japan. Join us in praying that the gospel will continue to take root in the lives of all who came to the conference. Pray that as a result we will see many great movements of gospel-centered church multiplication in Japan. And look forward to the 2021 CPI National Conference that will be held again at the Tsumagoi Resort, November 8–13, 2021. Don’t forget to block out those dates on your calendar!
CPI 2019 photo submitted by author