since 1863

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CONTEXT is the cultural characteristic. The Christian faith is always wrapped in a cultural robe. There is no way to receive the faith outside of the cultural context. Congregations seek to connect individuals to a faith that acknowledges an inter-cultural reality by being part of a trans-cultural experience. The joy and amazement derived from association with these congregations stem from the fact it is possible to transcend human differences that often divide people.

MISSIONAL is the functional characteristic. It is for mission that the church exists: “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” Mission is expressed in word and deed, in telling and doing, in acting and being. Churches do not live only to perpetuate themselves, but to be servants of their Servant Lord. A mission-minded International Congregation reaches out to English speaking persons even when they are not within the normal social or economic circle of the congregation.

International Congregations visualize the united, world-wide church of Jesus Christ without regard to separations of confession, race, culture, or nation. They are a network of congregations in more than 65 countries. The theological base or statement is the same “Jesus is Lord and Savior.”

» International Congregations Directory
» National Christian Council in Japan

EVANGELICAL is the chief and theological characteristic for an International Congregation. It sees the “Gospel” the Evangel, as the principle sign, idea for a Christian. It points to Jesus Christ, the center and key for God’s church. “Evangelical” says that a church focuses on Jesus, who He is and what He does and means for us. Being evangelical means that Jesus is first, that He is Lord and Savior of all.

ECUMENICAL is the sociological characteristic. In the churches each person (left and right, liturgical and non-liturgical, fundamentalist and liberal, traditional and experimental) finds the welcome mat out. The affirmation “one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church” takes on a new depth as openness, and inclusiveness, gives a truly “Pentecostal” flavor to international congregations.

INTERNATIONAL is the political characteristic. Vast changes are erasing old boundaries and diluting old ideologies. International Congregations testify to a willingness to embrace all persons into one community in Christ.

ENGLISH is the linguistic characteristic. The English language now ties people within and among nations together. Some nationals affiliate with English-speaking congregations because they are married to an English-speaking spouse or studied English, or are more at home in English than any other language. As language was a key in the diverse company of the first Pentecost, so it continues to weld men and women into community.

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It is part of the Christians Abroad in International Congregations. Millions of people are living in lands other than their own, struggling to understand another language, culture, a way of life. They seek community, support, a grasp of hope and reality. Persons in such situations can be lost, uncertain, confused. For these and all who might by touched by the Good News in Jesus Christ, there are oases where Living Water is to be found. Christians abroad find fellowship in International Congregations, gatherings of like-minded and like-experienced people who seek God’s presence and to follow God’s leading. These assemblies of believers focus their lives and activities together under six significant common characteristics.
- By Rev. Arthur Bauer, Past Director of International Congregations

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SCHOOL MINISTRYYokohama Christian School