Nihon Kirisutokyo Keiteidan (Japan Brethren in Christ Church)

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The Nihon Kirisutokyo Keteidan began with an evangelistic campaign on street corners in Hagi City, Yamaguchi Prefecture, in August 1953. Seekers' meetings were begun in the home of the missionaries, Peter and Mary Willms. The first three converts were baptized in October 1954. Lay leaders emerged out of the newly formed church (Omotomachi Church). From an emphasis on cell groups and home meetings, other Yamaguchi area churches were formed in Nagato (Fukawa Church, 1960), and Shimonoseki (Yamanota Evangelical Church, 1970). Meetings were also held in Nishiichi, and Takibe was still a preaching point in 1987.

In 1963 the Brethren in Christ (BIC) mission planted a church in the western Tokyo suburb of Koganei (Nukui Minami-cho Church). Small church groups followed in Kodaira, Fuchu, and Tachikawa. A voluntary service program of teaching English was established by the mission to aid the Japan churches in their outreach. Twenty-three volunteers taught during short term assignments, 1960-1985. Only one long-term missionary couple was left in 1987, so almost all pastoral work and evangelism too was conducted by Japanese leaders, who were mostly self-supporting.

The mission encouraged the churches to remain as a loose fellowship of independent churches and to avoid the formation of another denomination. However, with an increasing number of seminary-trained pastors and the desire of the national leadership to he more clearly identified with the Brethren in Christ in North America, the Yamaguchi Brethren in Christ Conference was inaugurated in September 1971.

In November 1983 a combined conference of the Yamaguchi and Tokyo churches was effected. A Pioneer Evangelism Committee was established by the conference, and partnership teams consisting of a missionary and a national pastor were designated for existing churches and new outreach. Under the "partnership" concept, churches were begun in Shin-Shimonoseki in 1982 and Nagoya (Midori Evangelical Church) in 1983. At the Second General Conference in 1984, the Brethren in Christ Church in Japan observed its 30th anniversary celebration. Total membership in 1987 was around 200. In 2003 there were 171 members in 7 congregations. An occasional publication is Ochibo (Gleanings).


Book, Doyle C. The Threshhold Is High: The Brethren in Christ in Japan. Nappanee, IN, 1986.

Kraybill, Paul N., ed. Mennonite World Handbook. Lombard, IL: Mennonite World Conference, 1978: 161-63.

Mennonite World Conference. "MWC - 2003 Asia/Pacific Mennonite & Brethren in Christ Churches." Accessed 9 May 2006. <>.

Author(s) Doyle C. Book
Asao Nishimura
Date Published 1987

Cite This Article

MLA style

Book, Doyle C. and Asao Nishimura. "Nihon Kirisutokyo Keiteidan (Japan Brethren in Christ Church)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1987. Web. 20 May 2024.

APA style

Book, Doyle C. and Asao Nishimura. (1987). Nihon Kirisutokyo Keiteidan (Japan Brethren in Christ Church). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 20 May 2024, from


Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, pp. 632-633. All rights reserved.

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