Japan (MNN) — The 2020 Tokyo Olympics are officially underway following today’s Opening Ceremony. Delayed by the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, the Games will run through August 8th. See a full schedule here. The Tokyo Paralympics begin August 24th.
Athletes and fans aren’t the only ones affected by Japan’s attendance regulations.
“We were planning to send tons of teams to the Olympic Games, and we had the vision to impact a lot of people. Because of the coronavirus and the ongoing changes with the restrictions, we’ve had to modify those approaches. Many groups, like ourselves, decided to pivot to a digital approach to ministry,” Joe Handley with Asian Access says.
“We have a number of people interested in Japan, simply by doing mission via digital experiences.”
Believers may have changed their methods for Olympics outreach, but their vision remains the same. By 2024, they hope to see 10 million Christians in Japan and 10,000 churches.
“For the Olympics, the vision was to reach a million people as the initial catalyst. If you can get a million followers of Christ, then you have momentum that can grow exponentially,” Handley says.
The “10-10-10 vision” traces back to 2014 and a young Japanese leader. “He had this sense (in 2014) that, in the next ten years, Japan would reach 10 million followers of Christ,” Handley says.
“We serve a God who loves the word ‘impossible’”
It’s an audacious goal if you know anything about Japan. Learn why here.
“[Japanese are] the second largest unreached people; less than one percent of the population attends church,” Handley says.
“This could be the moment where things begin to shift in Japan.”
Committed prayer holds the key to change. Join the million-hour “prayer force” here.
“This would take an enormous growth initiative, but we serve a God who loves the word ‘impossible.’ We’re praying that a million hours of prayer will be the catalyst to see a mighty move of God,” Handley says.
Asian Access’s aspirations are part of a broader movement sweeping Japan’s tiny church community. “With conditions being such they cannot get ‘boots on the ground,’ so to speak, churches have completely changed their approaches to the Olympic Games,” Handley says.
“They pointed to the fact that real revival often births through prayer movements. So, their latest vision is to mobilize a million hours of prayer during the Olympic Games. It’s an initiative that is not just Asian Access; it’s all-encompassing of the mission and Church family in Japan.”
Header image courtesy of Dick Thomas Johnson/Wikimedia Commons.