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Building strong leaders for Japan

CMS missionary Kellie Nicholas serves in Japan with KGK, a university Bible group. Here she describes the enjoyment and blessing that has resulted through online training of Christian student leaders. 

One of the upsides of doing ministry online is that meetings can be more accessible for students. Recently I started some online leaders’ training via Zoom. All the students in the photo have become leaders of their campus groups this year and were looking for some encouragement and direction.  

Although this is now the third year of running the leader training, and despite the clear need, I was worried that no one would show up. But God is good and brought just the right members to join us. The students have been spurred on to serve their campuses well. 

The blessing of long-term CMS involvement 

One of the great blessings of long-term CMS involvement  in Japan has revealed itself in a rather roundabout way that has had a direct impact on this leader training. Former CMS missionaries Graham and Cathy Smith served in Japan for many years, and consequently their children are fluent in Japanese. As a result, some six years ago their daughter Naomi worked with others to translate some small group training material originally developed by Christians at Sydney University.  

I have been using this material for the training.  The translated studies cover four components of leading a small group: ‘Pastoral’, ‘A Heart for Others’, ‘Administration’ and ‘How to be a Teacher/Facilitator’. The training is practical in nature and deals with matters like how we make people feel welcome, how we structure our time well, how can we ask good questions and similar. 

Students applying their learning 

The biggest encouragement for me has come after the students have participated in the training. It has been great to see the students using what they have learnt in our block meetings and on their campus over the last few years. They are better prepared, more aware of the group members and are really seeking to engage everyone with the word of God. Please pray that God will use them to see his word go out amongst their universities and that as we continue to meet, he will use us to build each other up.  


Thank God that through the long-term commitment of CMS missionaries in Japan, good leadership training material is available in Japanese for training Christian students, and pray that it continues to bear fruit.