Jesus.net Japan, an Internet-based evangelism ministry with an arm in the U.S., will be observing Internet Evangelism Day on April 29, which is set to draw attention to the ever-expanding role the web plays in today's world.
Japan has historically been known as a private society that has been reluctant to talk much about faith. Although the most recent poll on religious beliefs in the Pacific nation shows that Christianity is on the rise, it remains a nation with one of the smallest Christian percentages in the world – in a 2006 Gallup Poll, only six percent of the population said it was Christian.
"The Japanese do not talk about religion very easily, they are mostly private people. But a very large part of the population goes online to seek answers about questions they would not ask in person," shared Christian Zebley, Spokesperson for Jesus.net Japan, in an interview with The Christian Post.
Jesus.net Japan is seeing a new opportunity to reach Japanese society – through the Internet. Japan is one of the most progressive nations in the world when it comes to technology, and many people turn to online communication to address many of their spiritual needs and questions in life.
Jesus.net Japan is part of a worldwide movement of more than 40 national and international ministries. Its vision is to expose millions people to the Bible, through interactive websites, and share with them the good news of Jesus Christ.
Reaching out to them through the Internet and sharing the Good News of the Gospel is more important now than ever, Zebley explained to CP.
"The absolute best way to start reaching out to Japan's people is through private evangelism – we need to reach out to them through the Internet, and let them know who God is, what is His plan for salvation, and how they can become Christian," he said.
Japanese society has been greatly affected by the 2011 tsunami and earthquake that killed about 16,000 people, and it has led to a lot of soul searching – even if that outlet has been more so online.
"The disasters last year and the expanding economic growth here have people wondering what life is about more than ever before," Zebley said.
"We want to give people an opportunity to get answers and hope and reach them where they spend a lot of time – on the Internet – and connect them with other people who have been touched by the light of Christ," he added. "Changes are not going to happen overnight," the spokesman continued. "There will not be a sudden movement of conversions where the majority of the country will turn Christian. There is a long way to go."
"One of the primary goals of evangelism is to meet people where they are and introduce them to Jesus," added Andy Game, Jesus.net Japan's director, in a press release statement. "The Japanese are huge consumers of digital technology. If we want them to know that they matter to Jesus, we need to meet them where they live. Much of that is online."
Internet Evangelism Day is observed on the fourth Sunday in April, which is also the culmination of Digital Outreach Month.