Kaizen Mission MatrixPosted: July 7, 2017
We don’t alter the essentials of the true gospel message:
Repent before God by acknowledging that you are a guilty sinner that can’t save yourself; freely obtain mercy by placing your faith in the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, who died for our sins and rose again, granting to us who come to him forgiveness of sins and eternal life; Upon trusting Christ you received the free gift of eternal salvation and the indwelling of the Holy Ghost; As a saved Christian you go forward in gratitude by avoiding sin and doing what is right – not to earn or keep salvation, but because that is your new nature in Christ (Acts 20:21; 1 Corinthians 15:3-5; Romans 10:9-10; Romans 6:2).
That’s Christianity. A different message that omits crucial components in order to please an audience won’t save anybody.
Nevertheless there are many different styles of presenting the gospel and it is perfectly acceptable to try to use a method that works the best.
The Japanese have a concept called kaizen:
n(Philosophy) a philosophy of continuous improvement of working practices that underlies total quality management and just-in-time business techniques[literally: improvement]
It is a mode of thinking that Japanese manufacturers adopted of applying incremental improvements continually over time in order to obtain better methods.
Rather than completely re-do an efficient system from scratch, every part and step in the old system are analysed separately and the impact of isolated changes are meticulously measured. If it shows an improvement the change is kept otherwise it is discarded. This is a much more thorough and exact way of studying problems.
The Western approach is either low-risk ‘tried and true’ or high-risk innovation. The slow but sure dividends of constant painstaking tinkering is under-appreciated.
Historically the outcome of kaizen for the Japanese has repeatedly been that technology that originated elsewhere is eventually made by unique Japanese methods at higher quality and better price. They then boast not of the original invention, but of their conquering the market by improvement.
So back to the puzzle of Japan’s non-acceptance of Christianity – has the kaizen method ever been applied to this challenge?
Seems one would select a variety of gospel sermons – each one approaching the problem from a completely different scriptural context. Maybe its Creation, or Christ, or the nations, or Genesis, or Romans, or here and there concerning body-soul-spirit, or legal explanations, etc. Then there are differences in levels of sophistication and levels of information. Simple or complex. There are difference in extra-scriptural references: jokes, anecdotes; etymologies. Differences in tone: serious; light; urgent; indifferent. Difference in place: street; auditorium; office; classroom; modern church; old-fashion church. Group or solo. Traditional; Western; Oriental. Music styles accompanying. There are countless additional considerations.
The kaizen method would require that all of these differences get put into a matrix and each and every component is tested against all the others. There would have to be thousands of different iterations where a single element or combination of elements are changed and then careful measurements of “success” made for each and every arrangement. Of course “success” would have to be measured accurately in terms of preferred outcomes of salvation and a true understanding – and not a false success of which style was most pleasing.
A short-cut to narrow down the best (and worst) methods would be by historical research into the last century where preaching Christ to Japan was tried and failed by many. Yet much of that was done by liberal do-gooders with a social gospel with the objective of turning Japanese into church-going humanitarians like themselves. Japanese-style Christianity can take its own form – it need not resemble the western church – it only needs to be filled with authentic saved Christians.