Japan (MNN) — Japan, the world's
second-largest economy, has officially slipped into recession. Unable to fend off the effects of a worsening global slowdown, experts are looking for signs of a severe decline.
Economists say the worst is yet to come. The bad news they're talking about did not include September's financial
debacle, which has sent the Tokyo stock markets to 26-year lows.
As American consumers and businesses cut back even further on spending,
Japan is expected to see its exports decline even further.
That weakness is also expected to hurt Japan's domestic economy. With exports sliding, corporate profit
margins will shrink, which could push small companies into bankruptcy. As smaller businesses collapse, they will
release their workforce, which will add to the rising unemployment. Swelling ranks of unemployed could see
declining wages as the surviving companies can take their pick of desperate
people to work cheaply.
Now is not the time for
expansion, and that's being felt widely through the smaller business. Non-profits are not excluded.
Chief Executive Officer for Asian Access Joe Handley says,
they're feeling the pinch. "We're
trying to expand the ministry into another country this year, and [we're] then
exploring about five new regions. It may
impact our ability to take this training that is so outstanding–and
pastors are desperate for it–all across Asia. We may be limited on the ability
to expand because of the overall economy."
In Japan, one of Asian Access' visions
is to develop church leaders. In the
course of the training, the leaders are equipped to maximize the gifting in
their church bodies. They are also given the skills to determine the needs of the communities. Then, they develop skills to equip their
congregation for effective service.
During the training, they also
foster a vision for church multiplication. Over the two-year in-service
leadership development sessions within regional training networks, pastors
begin to see the need to be church multipliers.
The training and vision-casting
has gained reputation over the years. There are now many who are asking the teams to come to their country to
teach them how to be effective pastors and believers in their communities.
However, the economic trials mean
the ministry faces a challenging growth period.
Handley explains, "The world economy is shaking, and that has had a
significant impact upon Japan. The value of the yen is dropping, and the price
of goods has skyrocketed. So it's really affecting our churches, and it's
affecting our missionaries in a great way."
Pray for a spirit of unity in the
Japanese church. Ask the Lord to provide leaders who are thoroughly
grounded in the Word. And pray that God
continues to provide the resources to support the vision of the growth of the
body of Christ throughout Asia.