Tim and Wakako Clark are church planters in Japan and have served the people of Japan focusing on church planting and family ministries. Most recently, in the fall of 2019, they started a church in the Nerima district of Tokyo. Focusing on raising up young leaders and multiplying community groups, their goal is to grow this congregation into three churches within 8 years. This church is being started around Oizumi Gakuen train station. 30,000 people (many of them young families) live within one kilometer of this popular location, yet there are just two churches with a combined membership of 100. Numerous bus routes bring an average of 84,000 people through this area daily, meaning that a church here could reach many in this country where far fewer than 1% know Jesus Christ.
The Clarks are developing Harvest Japan as a place for people to find help for relationships, praying that as each person grows in human relationships, many also discover the importance of a relationship with their Creator.
In recent years Japan has moved from being a society of close-knit, inter-generational households, to one of fewer marriages and increasing divorce. Many young adults are looking for something different in relationships but aren't sure how to achieve it.
In this context, the Clarks pray that the truth of I Thessalonians 1:5 will be increasingly evident in their neighborhood, that the gospel will come; not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. They are inspired by the story of Peter and John in Acts 3, that God's miracle of healing led not only to one man, the healed one, worshiping God, but many others, too, responded with awe and a new openness to hearing the story of Jesus Christ.
A New Kind of Church
The Clarks seek to make their church unusually welcoming for young Japanese. "We pray that those who may find traditional churches to be difficult to enter relationally will find our focus on Community Groups to create a friendly, welcoming place" they report.
Their Community Groups, at the heart of the church, are:
Tim and Wakako live with their two sons, Mac and Hero, who transitioned from public school to the Christian Academy in Japan in 2019. Tim was a college student in the 1980s when he was convicted to use his life to lead as many Japanese to Christ as possible, and has now lived in Japan for over 20 years. Wakako, who grew up in a traditional, non-religious Japanese household, gave her life to Christ in 2001 through the witness of her sister, who was the first believer in their family.
Highlights of the Clarks' ministry together include