Posted by: whereintheworldismike | October 10, 2011

Mihama Church visit

Mihama Church is one of the 6 churches that participated in Okinawa Ch Multiplication Network II. Recently we got to spend an evening with our good friends Senior Pastor Masao Nakahara and Assistant Pastor Keijirou Funakoshi. These good friends still pray for our family during this difficult time. Pastor Funakoshi is preparing to be sent out to plant a daughter church of Mihama.

I first heard about The Gospel Center and Pastor Nakahara while reading Christianity Made in Japan: A Study of Indigenous Movements by Mullins during my doctoral studies. I wondered then if they were a cult or orthodox. When I was introduced to Pastors Nakahara and Funakoshi by another pastor in the network, I immediately made the connection and prayed and did some investigating before welcoming them to participate in the network. Over the course of several outreaches and coaching sessions, I became convinced that the theology of The Gospel Center: Mihama Church is indeed orthodox. Pastor Nakahara has an amazing gift of healing and several church members I’ve met tell stories of being healed of various terminal diseases. However, Pastor Nakahara has a simple leadership style and looks at church members as children. I have tried to encourage him and Funakoshi to use a style of leadership that is more empowering of church members. Unfortunately Pastor Nakahara continues to do what he knows–pray for the sick and run the church unilaterally. Almost all pastors on Okinawa know Pastor Nakahara because of the size of Mihama Church and the fallout of members from a lawsuit that took 10 years and was just recently resolved in Nakahara’s favor. I know his heart is good. But his leadership while gentle leads to concerns that Mihama is becoming a cult. I have kept in touch and am convinced  their theology is orthodox though all attenders have a strong focus on God’s healing power.

During a very friendly dinner that included hospitality I’ve experienced previously in China, the Lord gave me a prophetic warning for Pastor Nakahara and enabled me to speak the best Japanese I’ve ever spoken in the process. Please be in prayer with me for this dear brother in Christ who needs a partner gifted in empowering discipleship.  Thank you!


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