It has been for a while since this article’s up. I would like to restart the article “Understanding Returnees.” Please refer the previous articles on the links below. Hope you enjoy.
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The previous articles links.
- Who Are Returnees?
- How can I approach them? –“Are Returnees Space Aliens?” #1
- How can I approach them? — “Are Returnees Space Aliens? #2
Point 4. How did the returnee develop their faith? Baptism? – continued.
Churches in Europe and the US are individualistic and place importance on autonomy just like their culture. Service at church seems to be voluntarily in many cases. Therefore there are many Christians who do not serve in church, and it does not make them uncomfortable to be at the church. Even among Christians, there are different personalities and the stance that each church takes on where all these people should serve. When those returnees who have such experiences look at a Japanese church, they may be surprised to see that so many members of the church are involved in service. As Japan is the country where harmony has a high importance , it is often the case that the pastor or leader of the church asks members to be involved in necessary services and those who are asked accept it, and because of the relatively small scale of church, church activity is managed by many people involved at church. How about the case for those who have not reached the point of baptism? In the case of a Japanese church, in general, their activities are similar to that of churches in Japan, therefore it is not so difficult to verify the level of the returnee by finding out what type of meetings he/she attended to what degree, and how much he/she is spiritually led. In case of a local church, there are various meetings and activities for foreigners, so there are many different ways in involving church even if he/she says “I was attending church.”. Sometimes church offers English lessons for foreigners in the local area. For some cases they talk about the Bible prior to or following lessons, but depending on the policy of the church, there are churches that never bring in Christianity. At the churches that are seriously working on ministering to international students, dedicated staff takes care of the international students and holds meetings only for the international students. For example, some churches of Cambridge University in the UK host a meeting starting around 7:00 pm as a form of “coffee bar.” The Christian Union of the university is picking up steam, where the students of Cambridge University also take part in. If Japanese students show up there, there is a chance for the Japanese student to speak with those Cambridge students and become friends. Meeting in the form of “coffee bar,” is in line with the concept of friendship evangelism, it starts with becoming a friend, just like Jesus became our friend, and gradually talking about the good news to learn the Bible together. People can have a free conversation in the setting like a coffee shop during the first half of the meeting. Sometimes a skit that conveys the message of Christianity or music is played.
to be continued…..