Central Baptist Church Urasoe City, Okinawa, Japan Web page: http://www.baptistchurch.jp/
Purpose: This Church Profile is provided for prospective candidates for the Pastor position to gain an overview about Central Baptist Church (CBC).
1. About our members
Once a congregation of nearly 400, today CBC has 25 active members. This includes members of the military active duty personnel and English speaking Japanese nationals from Okinawa, Philippine nationals working in Okinawa. Our Sunday worship includes a host
of visitors from many nations including students who attend the Okinawa International Center for various professional development programs ranging in length from a few months to a couple of years.
Most of our congregation is in the 25-50 year old age range. With respect to families, we have representatives from several branches of the U. S. Armed Forces. The largest active duty groups on Okinawa are the Marine Corps and Air Force. Our membership reflects
the demographic proportions of these groups in the congregation.
Commuting distances on Okinawa are reasonable compared to U.S. standards. Many of our members live within 15-20 minutes of the church and virtually all live within 30-45 minutes driving time to CBC.
The largest percentage of the congregation has had previous affiliation with a Southern Baptist Church. For a significant minority, however, CBC is their first experience with a Southern Baptist Church.
Most military families arrive on island with 3-year orders. In practical terms for CBC, this means that approximately 1/3 of the congregation leaves the island for new duty stations each year (also known as PCS or permanent change of station). The transition
time for most families (either departing or arriving) is during the summer months, but families can PCS throughout the year.
2. Strengths of the church
We’re an international Church that is evangelical and biblical in doctrine holding to the inerrancy of Scripture. We desire to build relationships rightly related in Christ.
CBC’s current worship style is “loosely contemporary” mixing traditional and contemporary music. We also have a very small Praise Band and 4-6 person choirs that accompany the worship on Sunday mornings.
In the past, CBC has had proven Women’ s Ministries providing weekly outreach to Okinawan women by teaching English as a second language to over 40 students. Additionally, men’s ministry
opportunities included deep sea fishing, and family camping has been used on occasion to build fellowship as well.
However, all of these programs as well as youth development and outreach ministry have been severely reduced as a result of our dwindling church body and pastor turnover.
3. Challenges facing CBC
Plain and simple: we need to rebuild the congregation, outreach to the community – military and host nation in the areas of youth, teen, single women’s, & men’s ministry, as well as couples & Christian leadership development/discipleship. Significant increases
in operational tempo associated with increased deployments have made it difficult for our military members to consistently participate in fellowships and ministries. There is an entire base of young single military folks, and accompanying families’ right next
to our church that represents the greatest potential! A few miles up the road, there are at least three more bases that we should minister to as well.
Our building is 27 years old. The main floor has a vestibule, two church offices, and six Classrooms including a baby nursery and there is a one door restroom as well. The second floor contains a 300 seat auditorium with separate male and female restrooms.
Our third floor houses a Fellowship Hall with full kitchen and three additional classrooms as well as two more rest rooms.
We have a small 20 car parking lot immediately adjacent to the church property. We also have easy access to two other parking lots nearby the church at a local department store.
We share our building, but not the same classrooms or areas listed above, with a Japanese speaking church, a Christian bookstore, and the administrative offices of the Okinawa Baptist Convention that supports thirty Japanese speaking churches.
5. Activities of the church
We have Sunday School (09:30- 10:40), Morning Worship (10:40-12:00) and Wednesday Bible Study and Prayer (7-8PM). We also have some home based small group meetings during the evenings on various days. In the past, we have conducted Monday morning English
as a Second Language (ESL) classes, Wednesday evening Bible Study/Prayer, Children’s Choir, Youth Group, and Thursday morning Women’s Bible Study.
6. History of the church (See “ABOUT” on CBC Webpage)
CBC was founded in August 1959 as an English Language Church supported by the Southern Baptist Convention Foreign Mission Board. Its primary mission was to minister to the military community. The FMB (now International Mission Board) provided full support
of a pastor until the retirement of IMB Non- Language Missionary Pastor John Joslin in 2005. Since that time, though each pastor sensing a call from God, there has yet to be one successful in returning CBC to its a former position of a vibrant church on Okinawa.
Currently the Sunday worship service is led by the Chairman of Deacons with the preaching provided by military chaplains, lay ministers from sister church and a retired preacher on island.
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