Reaching Japanese through YouTube
Never thought you would make YouTube videos? Neither did I, until God showed me the amazing potential of using the internet to reach the lost.
Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the task of reaching the vast number of Japanese who have never heard the gospel? More than once, I have felt the enormity of that task. I personally endeavor to do street evangelism and relational evangelism, but I started to feel a restlessness that more could be done. From this sense of restlessness and through a conversation with a friend, God gave me a vision: begin using YouTube to share about Jesus to the Japanese people.
Now you may be tempted to stop reading here because you’re thinking—“I don’t have the personality to make videos on YouTube,” “I don’t know the first thing about YouTube,” or “My Japanese isn’t good enough to make videos on YouTube.” So let me encourage you by confessing that I had similar thoughts and never imagined myself being a “YouTube influencer,” as the younger generation sometimes calls it. But when God opened my eyes to the potential to share the gospel with Japanese all over Japan and the world (many of whom I may never meet in person), I began to warm up to this idea.
Soon after, God providentially began to show me how much of an “online society” Japan is. Overall, Japanese people spend a significant amount of time on the internet every day, mostly on smartphones. Various social media platforms, YouTube, and LINE are some of the places Japanese spend their time. If you are interested in learning more, I encourage you to search for “Japan” on this helpful website: https://datareportal.com At this website, you can find various reports and some jaw-dropping statistics about internet, social media, and smartphone usage in various countries. Reading some of these statistics solidified my conviction to use the internet to share the gospel to Japanese people.
Next, I began thinking and praying about what the focus of my YouTube videos should be, at least in the beginning. I was reminded of a missionary named Paget Wilkes that I read about who served in Japan several decades ago. In his writings, Wilkes shared how he found it effective to use John 3:16 as a foundational base to work from when sharing the gospel. However, in order to contextualize the gospel for the Japanese, Paget broke up John 3:16 phrase by phrase and turned it into a six-part evangelistic sermon series:
- For God: A message about the nature, identity, and character of God.
- So loved the world: A message about God’s unconditional love for all people.
- That he gave his only begotten son, Jesus: A message about the birth, identity, and life of Jesus.
- That whosoever believes in him: A message about the salvation and hope Jesus provides through faith in him.
- Shall not perish: A message about the eternal consequence of rejecting the message of Jesus.
- But have eternal life: A message about heaven and the eternal hope Jesus provides.
Inspired by this approach, I made a series of YouTube videos in Japanese which explain John 3:16 phrase by phrase. It was a lot of work, but I have already begun to see the fruit of my efforts. God has even begun to bless me with friends who want to make subtitles in various languages so that even more non-Christians can hear the gospel. If you are interested in watching my videos, please check out the following link and prayerfully consider sharing the videos with any Japanese friends that come to mind:
Let me encourage you again that using things like YouTube and Facebook is something you can do. Like me, you may be far from perfect in Japanese, or you may not be very outgoing (God can help you overcome that). But as society in Japan continues to change, I don’t foresee the strategic importance of using the internet to reach Japanese people going away anytime soon.
Here are some practical ideas to consider:
- Make a YouTube video where you share your testimony of how you became a Christian.
- Do a Facebook Live video and share a testimony of an answer to prayer.
- Interview Japanese members in your church about how they became Christians.
- Make a training video about how to share the gospel in Japanese.
- Make a channel for kids and read Bible stories in Japanese.