How can we reach over 99% of Japanese people who are lost? More than 90% of them have never heard the Gospel. Sports is one of the many tools we are using to reach the Japanese people for Christ.
More than 70% of the population in Japan are involved in sports in some kind of way. Young children are involved with sports programs both in and out of school including swimming, track and field, martial arts, etc. Older children take part in team sports in after school clubs. Seniors take part in many different neighborhood sports with gateball being commonly seen in the mornings. Other popular senior sports include swimming, table tennis, running, and various martial arts. Japanese people enjoy being active and most people enjoy watching sports on TV.
Many people who have never met a Christian in their life are coming to our sports outreaches. They are seeing and experiencing the love and joy Christians have. This is important because many Japanese people have a bad impression of religion because of the cults in Japan which have become associated with extortion, harrassment, and other crimes.
“According to the Government’s Agency for Cultural Affairs, there are more than 182,000 religious corporations registered nationwide.” (Religion News Blog, 2007)
Building relationships takes a long time in Japan. However, after playing sports for a short time, you can become friends almost immediately.
Once you are friends, Japanese people share their personal problems they are facing. This is when we share the hope we have in Christ. This happened again just several days ago.
We have been renting different gyms in the community to invite children and parents. We don’t want the rental cost to be a hinderance for anyone, so the Christians in the group cover the cost to rent the gym and other facilities to play sports.
Parents whom we have built relationships with trust us, and they often take their children to the church-organized gym activities to play sports.
Children often ask us to invite them when we have other activities in the church.