Missionaries to Japan choose new name

By August 30, 2023

Japan (MNN) – The term “missionary” carries many connotations. A3, formerly Asian Access, began sending missionaries to Japan over 50 years ago. Since then, Japanese Christians have taken leadership of A3’s work in Japan. Global workers remained to support and partner with the Japanese Church, but the label of “missionary” no longer fit their role, says Robert Adair.

In the context of Japan, “missionary” brings up images of the post-WWII generation of missionaries. They were seminary-trained, bilingual, church planters who eventually discipled local leadership to take responsibility of the new congregations. As Japanese Christians began to lead A3 Japan, the global workers felt they needed a new name.

“So we started searching for a term that we could use to describe ourselves that still we were cross cultural workers committed to reaching the lost working with the Japanese church,” says Adair.

“We are 100% committed to coming alongside the church in Japan and working with them.”

As the team carefully reviewed their values and commitments, one descriptor rose above the rest.

“The term we’ve landed on is A3 missional partners,” says Adair.

This new term has helped to refocus and communicate the vision of the missional partners in Japan.

“I think for our staff, they feel good that it describes who we are. And that’s been encouraging for them,” says Adair. “And it’s a good way for us to identify ourselves within the broader A3 movement.”

While A3’s ministry has expanded far beyond Asia, the missional partners continue to serve the Japanese Church. A new collaboration with SIM International has also allowed the team to welcome new missional partners from around the world.

“It’s our role to partner with what God’s doing in Japan, to partner with what the church is doing in Japan, for missional purposes,” says Adair.

What can you do?

The Japanese are one of the largest remaining unreached people groups worldwide. How can you find your place in the story and pray for Japan?

Adair says, “Japan’s a place that has not been responsive to the Gospel. But just praying that the work, the effort, of our team and others here in Japan, that we’d see fruit, that God would open hearts, and that we would see Japanese people respond to the Gospel.”

Pray that A3’s missional partners will work well with the Church in Japan and support their Japanese brothers and sisters in growing the Kingdom of God.

Are you interested in becoming a short-term or long-term missional partner? For further information, visit Go2Japan.org.


Header photo courtesy of A3.