In June one young couple joined TMC staff as our new part-time ENGLISH LANGUAGE MINISTRIES pastoral couple. We are now seeking one more couple to form an English ministries pastoral team with them. Click here to learn more.
TOKYO MULTICULTURAL CHURCHTMC website: https://tokyochurch.org
Japan is known for its cultural conformity, perhaps euphemistically known as “harmony.” But Tokyo, the world’s largest megacity with a population of 37 million, is becoming increasingly culturally diverse because people from all over the world are moving to it. Its new cultural diversity is also sourced in Japanese people who have become internationalized by living outside Japan and have therefore gained a new perspective (Japanese “returnees”).
TMC has ministries in three languages—English, Japanese, and Chinese. Worship services are held in English and Japanese every Sunday, with joint English and Japanese services twice a month. About one-third of TMC’ers are Japanese, who attend either English or Japanese services. We hope that a Chinese worship service will develop out of our monthly Chinese fellowship.
Located at one of the centers of the world’s largest megacity, within the second largest unreached people group on planet earth, TMC is a Christ centered, Bible based, disciple making church, trying to display the multi-faceted glory of God by worshiping and obeying Jesus Christ in a warm and welcoming multicultural setting.
In pre-Covid days we also had a monthly potluck. On other Sundays many people enjoyed eating their own lunches at TMC and staying around to chat. All of this fellowship has been restricted during the many months of Tokyo’s states of emergency in 2020 and 2021 when our worship services have been by zoom and live-streamed on FB. We are eager to get back to in-person worship and gatherings!
TMC has two all-church leadership teams—our Facilitator Team and Pastoral Team. These teams operate in English. This is partly because English is the international language of the world. It is also because English tends to reduce social hierarchical distinctions so important to Japanese language and culture. English is a more horizontal language and helps foster multicultural respect.
TMC PHASESThe reproducible church planting strategy of TMC has four stages.
EnvisioningDreaming, planning, and praying for TMC, 2007 - March 2013 (5 years).
TMC’s initial vision was generated by Dale and Ann at Musashino Chapel Center English Department (MCC), beginning in 2007 while they were the interim pastoral couple there. Activities included prayer walks, informational meetings, and commissioning.
EmbarkingLaunching TMC, April 2013 - September 2014 (18 months).
TMC’s first worship service was April 7, 2013. For the first year TMC met in the rental meeting room of the Littles’ apartment complex. Prayer meetings were conducted by Skype. On TMC’s first anniversary, the Lord provided an excellent first floor rental facility in the target area. Duane Dietze (ReachGlobal) became the Japanese Department church planter in June 2014 and in July 2014 we hosted our first small outreach English conversation classes with short term personnel from the US.
EstablishingLaying the foundation of TMC, September 2014 - 2022 (8 years).
Milestones in our Establishing Phase include:
- Our first fully Japanese language service was held Christmas Eve 2015.
- Japanese language adult Bible study and children’s Sunday School were started in the fall of 2017.
- Monthly Chinese language fellowship also began in the fall of 2017.
- English and Japanese small groups were launched in 2018.
- Our Japanese language ministries pastor joined our staff in the spring of 2019 and Japanese worship services were started that fall.
- In Dec 2019 we started a monthly “Wakuwaku (“exciting”) Family Time” in place of our previous Sunday School.
- WORSHIP services on the first and third Sundays of the month are in both English and Japanese, through interpretation. Separate English and Japanese worship services meet on the remaining Sundays.
- CHINESE FELLOWSHIP meets one Sunday afternoon a month for Bible study and fellowship. TMC hopes to eventually add a Chinese worship service to our current English and Japanese language worship services.
- SMALL GROUPS meet twice a month to discuss the sermon from that Sunday using discussion questions prepared by the preacher. We currently have one Japanese and two English groups.
- PRAYER MEETINGS are held jointly each week in English, Japanese, and Chinese. The focus is on praying for one another and TMC. Prayer items from TMC members and attenders are compiled monthly in English.
- BIBLE STUDIES meet three times a week in Japanese and once a week in English.
- CHILDREN enjoy a monthly “Wakuwaku (exciting) Family Time” Bible story and craft in English and Japanese.
- LADIES connect in English through a monthly newsletter that includes a short Bible devotional and one lady’s testimony, as well as through a social media group.
- YOUNG ADULTS gather monthly for games and Bible discussion in English. Young adults are under the age of 40.
EnlargingStarting the church planting cycle all over again, 2022 - 2026 (4 years).
TMC’s Enlarging Phase overlaps with the previous Establishing Phase and becomes part of the next TMC’s initial Envisioning Phase.
Planning and strategizing for launching TMC #2 has been repeatedly postponed. It will now not likely begin until 2022. We will be ready to move ahead when we have adequate financial resources and pastoral leaders at TMC #1. Lord willing, these younger leaders will be able to carry the TMC vision forward, embracing the idea of working with the people God is scattering to the world’s largest megacity and with boomerang Japanese people (returnees).
TMC PARTNER CHURCHES
Primary Partner ChurchThe primary partner church of TMC is the English Department of Musashino Chapel Center (MCC) on the west side of Tokyo, where the TMC dream began in 2007. The Littles served at MCC for over two years as the interim pastoral couple with the understanding that they would help MCC develop a church planting proposal and then be sent out to plant the church. The vision was realized when the Littles launched TMC on the east side of Tokyo in April 2013. MCC English Department and TMC have had various ways of connecting, including annual mothers day picnics.
Overseas Partner ChurchesTMC also has one overseas partner church (Hallelujah Chinese EFC in Toronto, Ontario, Canada). In addition, one foundation in Canada and three individuals in the US partner with TMC. These partners contribute toward the TMC Church Planting Fund held at EFC of Canada Mission.
TMC desires to connect with new partner churches, church associations, mission agencies, or individuals that could help develop TMC’s language-specific departmental leadership teams (Japanese, Chinese, etc.).