More than 3,000 Christian believers are participating in an ongoing conference, Empowered21, in Kyoto, Japan, for worship, prayer and teaching. Organizers say it is one of the largest of such gatherings the nation has seen in its history.
The four-day Empowered21 All Japan Conference, which concludes Monday, has "Spirit empowered" believers of all ages from across Japan, Asia and the world at the Kyoto International Convention Center.
"As one of the largest gatherings of Christians in Japan, this is a historic meeting for the Spirit empowered believers in the nation," said William M. Wilson, Empowered21 global chairman, in a statement.
Empowered21 is based out of Oklahoma in the U.S.
Less than 1 percent of the 127 million people are Christian in Japan, which is still recovering from the March 2011 tsunami and nuclear power plant meltdown. However, nearly all major Christian denominations are represented in the nation.
The conference is being held in the former imperial capital of Japan and which is now the capital of Kyoto Prefecture as well as a major part of the Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe metropolitan area.
"I have been impressed with a deep sense that the Christians in Japan are earnestly seeking the power of the Holy Spirit and I believe this conference could be a catalyst for revival in the nation," added Wilson.
The conference is calling for change and revival in Japan. "Another historical note for Christians is that Kyoto shares a name with Jerusalem – they both mean 'city of peace,'" said Wilson, who also praised cooperation between the Spirit-empowered and evangelical Christians to reach more people in Japan with the Gospel, especially in the wake of the tsunami.
While Christians have existed in Japan for a long time and some missionaries have found the Japanese to be receptive to the Gospel, Christianity is still seen as a Western faith. The Japanese are generally suspicious of Western influence.
The vision of Empowered21, which is praying for revival in Japan, is that every person on Earth would have an authentic encounter with Jesus Christ through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit by Pentecost 2033. The movement aims to "help shape the future of the global Spirit-empowered movement throughout the world by focusing on crucial issues facing the movement and connecting generations for intergenerational blessing and impartation."
The next Empowered21 Global Congress is scheduled for Jerusalem in May 2015.