A Message From General Secretary NAITO Tomiyuki
Recent Kyodan Church Statistics (2012.02.01)
As the 2012 Kyodan Yearbook has just been published and contains the statistics for the 2010 fiscal year, I want to discuss recent trends within the Kyodan from the standpoint of statistics.
The overall basics statistics are as follows:
Total Number of Churches – 1,724
Total Membership – 182,418
Total Number of Resident Communicant Members – 90,184
Average Sunday Attendance – 56,240
Average Church School Attendance – 15,918
Total Number of Ordained Ministers – 3,363 (including 635 retirees)
– 2,653 of whom are men and 710 are women
– 1,841 of whom are in local church pastorates
The total number of new baptisms in 2010 was 1,395, which is about the same as the previous year and represents an average of slightly less than one per congregation. When the yearly reports submitted by local congregations are analyzed, there appears to be three peak periods in the distribution of those receiving baptism. One is women in their 30s who are in the midst of childrearing. As they raise their children, they often begin thinking about the meaning of life, what they are living for, and in the process, they discover the answers they are seeking in the Bible and are led to receive baptism. At any rate, that seems to be the general pattern.
The second peak period in the pattern is that of men in their 60s. From the standpoint of society, these are mostly men who have recently retired and who now have time to do things they really want to do. Often they were "wed to their company" so the harder they worked during employment, the more acutely they feel the lack of things to do after retirement. Thus, they begin considering what they want to do with the rest of their lives but realize they really have nothing firm on which to base their lives. As they look for a way to overcome this deficiency and are exposed in church to the gospel of Christ, they discover true salvation and are led to baptism. As we consider the potential for this segment of society, it is really important for local churches to develop strategies for reaching them.
The third peak period is students of junior and senior high school age, including both those who have attended church schools in the local church and those who have attended mission schools for their regular education. We really need to be thankful for these young people, who have either been raised in a Christian home and come to faith under the prayerful watch of their parents or were exposed to the Bible in these mission schools and were attracted to its message, with both types of experiences leading them to receive baptism as a testimony to their budding faith. Nevertheless, as young people who face many struggles and doubts, the faith of many is subsequently eroded by the cares of this world, leading to unanswered doubts, and thus they end up leaving the faith through the backdoor. This reality speaks to the need for further education and pastoral care to nurture their faith after baptism as well. These young people are the future of the church, so it is critically important for us to put maximum emphasis on training them in the faith.
As I looked through the statistics on baptisms, I noticed that there are a few churches with numerous baptisms during the year, including one with 29 and another with 27. There are many plausible reasons for this, but in looking into the details, there was nothing to indicate that they were doing something special. They were simply emphasizing the preaching of the Word and prayer and praise in worship. The pastor led the laity to provide a warm and welcoming atmosphere for newcomers. In other words, it was not some special program but the faithful diligence of the entire church in providing an atmosphere in which faith could blossom. God blessed this, and the result was numerous new confessions of faith leading to baptism.
I also want to say something about finances. The total income from contributions among the more than 1,700 local churches was approximately 11.8 billion yen, which amounts to an average of about 7.2 million yen per church.
Finally, a word concerning missionaries: There are presently 64 missionaries from overseas serving the Kyodan, while the Kyodan is sending out 21 missionaries to other countries. The history of the church in Japan is one in which missionaries have played a huge role, and so I pause to give thanks for that. (Tr. TB)
Naito Tomeyuki, general secretary:
まず、教会数は1724教会。信徒総数は182418名。 現住陪餐会員数は90184名。主日礼拝出席者数は56240名。教会学校礼拝出席者数は15918名。教師総数は3363名、 （うち隠退教師635名）。男女比は男性2653名、女性710名。 このうち教会担任教師は1841名。受洗者数は1395名で前年比はほぼ横ばい。全国平均は1名弱。提出された各個教会の年次報告書にみられる受洗者の実態を分析してみると、三つの山があることが知らされ る。一つは子育て中の婦人層（30代）。子育てをしながら様々な経験をし、人生の意 味は何か、真の生き甲斐はどこにあるのかなどと深く考えさせられ、その確かな答えを聖書の中に見いだし、本格的に求道して遂に受洗に まで導かれていく。そんな事情が考えられる。二つ目の山は60代の熟年層。この世的に言えば定年退職をし、やり たいことが出来る自由時間が増してくるが、実は会社人間として、がむしゃらに働いてきた者であればある程度自由時間をもてあまし、次 第に「自分は今後どのように生きていったらよいのか」と考え、自分の中に確固と生きる支えが何もないことに気づかされる。そうしたむ なしさの中で、それを克服する道を求めて志道し、教会の礼拝に集うようになり、キリストの福音に触れ、そこに真の救いを見いだして受 洗に導かれる。このような熟年層が教会に加えられている現実を見つめ、全国各地の教会が伝道方策を立てていくことが大切なのではない かと思われる。三つ目の山は中高生。教会学校育ちの中高生のほか、キリスト教主義学校に通学している中に聖書に心惹かれる者、クリス チャンホーム育ちで親の祈りの支えられ導かれて受洗する者が相当数あるのは感謝すべき現実。ただ若者特有の人生問題にぶつかり、心を 痛めつつ教会を去る者、この世の他の事柄に心奪われて信仰から離れる者も数多く見られることを思うと、受洗後の教育的配慮をきちんと していかねばならないと思う。とにかく、教会の将来を担っていく若者たちを根気強く育てていくことが重要なのである。
受洗者数について調べていくうちに気がついたことであるが、1教会で29名とか、27名 とか、多数の受洗者を生み出している事実があることである。様々な理由が考えられるが、よく調べてみるとその教会が特別なことをして いるとも思えない。ただ主日礼拝を豊に守り、み言葉の説教が力強く語られ、心からの賛美が歌われ霊性を感じる深井祈りが捧げられ、一 人一人の求道中の来会者を温かく迎えて信仰の手引きをしている、といったことを牧師を先頭に信徒が喜んで奉仕している、平凡である が、そうした事を積み重ねていく時、上よりの祝福として、受洗者が生まれてくるのではないかと思う。