Japan (MNN) — Business people are the focus of an evangelistic ministry in Japan.
Neal Hicks is with the Mission Society and he's one of the leaders in the International VIP Clubs in Japan. "It is a ministry that goes into the marketplace and meets with Japanese businessmen in local hotel restaurants. And in the context of business fellowship, we're able to introduce Japanese to Christ."
VIP Clubs started small in the 90's, but Hicks says it's grown. "Presently we have 130 chapters meeting nationwide in Japan from Hokkaido in the north to Okinawa in the south. So it has just amazingly expanded in a little better than 10 years or so."
Evangelism is difficult in Japan. Hick explains: "The Japanese basically are not able to embrace the Gospel because there's bondage from generations of Buddhism and Shintoism. The Japanese basically believe that they can't really be Christians because they would no longer be Japanese."
That means it's almost impossible to reach the lowest in society and work their way up. So, Hicks says, they're taking a top-down approach. "As we share Christ with these Japanese men who have some stature and clout, they're able to be more visible and transparent about their relationship with Christ, and it flows from the top down. To come in from the bottom and work your way up is almost impossible."
Hicks says they also invite top Christian business people from IMB or known banks to arenas and stadiums to help with the evangelistic outreach. "They share how Christ has come into their lives, changed their lives, and given them wisdom to do business. And of course all these Japanese people know who these folks are, and they're probably a bit overwhelmed to hear them talk about their personal relationship with Jesus Christ."
The outreach isn't limited to business people, says Hicks. "Occasionally we'll have a few Buddhist monks or someone from the religious world [who] also attend and hear the Gospel, and politicians as well have been coming to the Lord."
Hicks is asking you to pray that they'd be able to start more business partnerships and that God would break through and release them from their spiritual bondage.