Dale and Ann Little
Evangelical Free Church of Canada Mission

Second Christmas at TMC (2014)

  • Our TMC Christmas Sunday lineup included...
  • Worship service with special music, advent reading, and English sermon translated into Japanese (18 adults).
  • Potluck lunch.
  • ”Open church” in the afternoon: inviting passersby into our TMC facility for refreshments, kids Christmas video (multilingual), and a Christmas craft. Within 45 minutes we had distributed over 200 tissue packets with a TMC business card inserted, and a bag of candy for the kids. Three people took us up on our offer, with many others happily receiving our TMC information.

TMC Kids Christmas Events 2014

2014_12_13 SBC
We joined with Sumida Bible Church for children’s Christmas outreach events on two Saturdays in December, building upon our local ministry partnership with that church.

On Sat Dec 13 we participated in the children’s event at SBC. Pastor and Mrs. Ishikawa of SBC led with songs, Christmas story Bible teaching, and refreshments. Our TMC people took the lead during the game time, and interacted with the children and parents who attended.

On Sat Dec 20 TMC led the children’s event held in the meeting room of our apartment complex. Pastor Ishikawa once again taught the Christmas Bible story and led the singing. TMC led the rest of the event with English themed games, a craft, and gift bags.

It was great to see a few mothers who live in our large apartment complex. They came because of the warm relationships Ann has built with them during her English classes.

We floated the idea of holding these kinds of events nearby at TMC in the future, instead of in the rental room of our apartment complex. The ladies seem very open to that idea even though many Japanese people hesitate to enter the doors of a “church.”

So in the new year Ann hopes to start a “Moms and Tots” English conversation class at TMC.

Church Planting and the Heavenly City

The opening pages of the Bible depict a rural context and the closing pages a city. This means we are on a journey toward a heavenly city.

Now, when we think of cities, we imagine masses of people—and that might not thrill us. But this future city will be very different than our cities. For example, one central feature of the heavenly city is its river, which flows down the main street. On both of its banks is planted the single tree of life (Rev. 22:1-2). So this city built by God seems much like a garden. It is qualitatively different from any city we have seen.

It is inhabited by the people of God, redeemed by Jesus Christ. They are countless in number and reflect the cultural variety of all peoples (Rev. 5:9; 7:9; 21:3-4, 24-25). They are an international community, the result of the intentional mission of God.

Local churches, located in history between the first and second comings of our Lord, can be understood as interim microcosms of that future city. New Testament proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ consistently resulted in the birthing of new churches. The pattern has continued down through missions history. These churches turn around and proclaim that same gospel to the world, becoming agents of God’s mission. As God’s missional community, they become a showcase of his new redeemed re-creation, finding their ultimate fulfillment in the future heavenly city.

The breathtaking scope of God’s mission from the time of the ancient garden to the eschatological city should shrink our petty differences such as race, nation, language, denomination, and mission organization. It compels us to think together, worship together, do mission together, and educate together across these borders that are ultimately not so significant.

Tokyo Multicultural Church, launched in April 2013, is trying to demonstrate the value of multiple cultures worshiping and serving the Lord together. We are intentionally building diversity into our church planting ministry in the world’s largest urban conglomeration that has a population of 37 million. We are trying to work and lead alongside the many people in Tokyo who come from other cultures, nations, and languages, as well as Japanese people. In the midst of a country known for its conformity, Tokyo Multicultural Church wants to become a Christ centered, Bible based, disciple making church that intentionally celebrates the God given cultural diversity of the world's largest megacity.

We see our church planting as an attempt to point toward the future city of God. Perhaps we are practicing for heaven. Maybe our church planting experiment will fail. But we are certainly enjoying the journey! One thing we know for sure: when Jesus Christ returns, people of all cultures and nations will recognize that he is Lord!

Published in The Pulse (Evangelical Free Church of Canada), 2014 (no url available). © Dale Little. Also available at: http://itheology.net/cptheo/17.html.

TMC Japanese Department Launched

On September 7 we launched our Japanese Department at Tokyo Multicultural Church by dividing into English and Japanese language groups for the sermon or Bible study time during the middle of the service. The joint part of the service includes singing in English and Japanese as well as children’s Bible stories mostly in English. This is our first step toward a Japanese language worship service, hopefully in the next few years.

Duane Dietze leads our new Japanese Department.

We plan to add other language-specific departments (Chinese Mandarin, Tagalog, Portuguese, etc.) because...
  • TMC celebrates God-given cultural diversity in the midst of a country famous for conformity.
  • We desire to display the multi-faceted glory of God by worshiping and obeying Jesus in a warm and welcoming multicultural setting in the center of Tokyo, the world's largest megacity.
If you want to practice your Japanese reading skills just click on the Japanese flag at our Tokyo Multicultural Church website!

TMC First Summer English Classes

Chie from Cayucos Community Church (California) and Nanette from First EFC of Maine taught classes at Tokyo Multicultural Church and Sumida Bible Church, July 28 – August 1. Between the two churches we had 16 students, with only one out of the total of five classes at TMC. We are thankful for our relationship with Sumida Bible Church and were happy to share our teachers with them.

Jon Prins from Watertown EFC (Minnesota) was also able to join us. He preached both Sundays at TMC, helped with making meals, and began writing an orientation manual for future TMC short term teams. Jon is raising financial support to return full time to Japan as part of our TMC staff.

TMC’s 1st Birthday

TMC AT ONE YEAR: April 6, 2014, was the first anniversary of Tokyo Multicultural Church. Our 1st birthday present was a rental facility. The Lord's timing was perfect! We had been searching and praying for a rental for months, and experienced numerous rental application rejections because we are a church. But the Lord orchestrated events so that we could hold our first worship service in our new rental facility on our first anniversary.

We are still quite "bare bones" when it comes to furnishings, but one person has already "discovered" TMC because we moved into our own facility.

May the Lord gather his scattered peoples in order to bless Tokyo with the gospel. And may Jesus Christ be pleased to build his church as we plant TMC.