Thursday, May 22, 2008
Tokyo::Passion -- Interview with Jake Jelinek
Passion World Tour -- Tokyo Event
Among US college students Passion is influential, gathering large numbers of students for events featuring high production standards, quality worship music, and inspiring speakers. Passion is going international this year and will hold Passion::Tokyo on October 13, 2008 at C. C. Lemon Hall in Shibuya. The program plan includes worship leaders and speakers from England and the US.
Passion Home Page
Following is an interview I (Paul Nethercott) did with Passion::Tokyo coordinator Jake Jelinek. Jake, a lawyer in Indiana (USA), will make several short visits to Japan in his role as volunteer coordinator for the Tokyo event.
1. What is the purpose of Passion?
Passion seeks to gather college and university students across the nation and around the world to seek the face of God, asking Him to ignite in our souls a passionate pursuit of Jesus Christ and a desire to spread His fame to everyone on earth.
3. Why a world tour? Why Tokyo?
Passion is off on a crazy journey to the cities of the world in 2008, uniting university students around the globe in a story so much bigger than our own. We will be hosting tour events in 17 major cities around the globe. There are hundreds of thousands of university students in or near Tokyo…there was an indelible sense that God is moving in Tokyo today and Passion could be a part of that movement.
4. Do you have a philosophy of contextualization?
As we embark on this undertaking, we are seeking, in every way possible to speak into the specific culture of each of the cities at which we will host events. However, we also recognize the practical impossibility of significantly altering the program for each of the seventeen tour stops. While we recognize that there will be points of minutia where our style and process diverge from the local culture, we believe fully that the heartbeat of Passion::Tokyo transcends culture and that God will use the Passion World Tour to accentuate the unity of His message.
5. Is the "practical impossibility" primarily related to production issues?
While there are some production issues, our bigger concern is that there would be accountability concerns with utilizing local leaders and worship artists. That is certainly not to suggest that there are not leaders and artists who share our vision and who are trustworthy in each locale but we feel led to utilize the teachers and worship artists who have been integral in developing the Passion vision. We are trusting God to overcome the prospective cultural hurdles inherent in that decision.
6. How will you handle language issues?
Our plan is to utilize subtitles true to the spirit of the worship songs for the majority of the music. We may also integrate some element of music in the native tongue of the venue, Japanese in this case. Recognizing the significant language barrier, our production will rely heavily on imagery -- which transcends language in communicating the message of Jesus Christ and His grace and love.
7. In a nation where most people conceptualize Christianity as foreign, do you think that there is danger that your program could inadvertently reinforce that impression?
We are certainly aware of that danger and continue to prayerfully evaluate how to best avoid that outcome. We are making an effort to ensure that nationals staff our most visible volunteer positions, so that the leaders with whom students are interacting are not Westerners.
8. How do you see the event this fall strengthening the church in Japan?
We anticipate the church being strengthened as a wide cross-section of ministries from across denominational and theological lines unite and work together to make the event a success. Passion’s experience with its events in the United States has been that students leave the events and return to their campuses energized in their relationship with God and committed to reorienting their own lives around the pursuit of His name and renown in every aspect of their lives.
9. Who will be on the program?
We anticipate Louie Giglio and Francis Chan as the main speakers; Chris Tomlin, David Crowder Band, and Matt Redman as worship leaders.
10. What is "success" for this event?
It will be a success if God’s name and renown are made known to the hearts and lives of the students in attendance and those students are inspired and encouraged to live lives radically changed as a result of an encounter with Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God.