Justin Canavan has a wealth of experience in using creative media. He has served as a videographer, producer, director, camera operator, lighting director, stage manager, tech team facilitator, director of photography, etc. He graduated cum laude from Evangel University with a Bachelor of Science in Film with minors in Broadcasting and Biblical Studies.
But in all his experience, you will find a common thread. He uses creative media to spread the gospel. Whether he was serving as a media intern at a local church, fulfilling several roles within Evangel University’s media programs, or acting as a camera operator for various television programs and films, Justin’s passion has been finding ways to use media to declare the message of God’s love to an increasingly visually-driven world.
The other thread which runs through Justin’s life is an obvious love for the people of Japan (where less than one percent of the population are believers in Jesus). In the spring/summer of 2014, Justin spent three months in Tsukuba, Japan ministering to college students as part of an Evangel University Chi Alpha team.
Tsukuba is a university town where three fourths of the population are PhDs. It’s the location of the “Tsukuba Science City,” a center for research and education that has contributed to the development of the city of Tsukuba into a hub of scientific innovation. As you might imagine, the population of Tsukuba is naturally comfortable with technology and media. Justin’s skills were a wonderful fit for the outreach the Christian community in Tsukuba has undertaken.
After the completion of his three-month term of service with Chi Alpha, Assemblies of God missionaries to Japan Chris and Lindsey Carter asked Justin to return to Japan as an Assemblies of God MAPS missionary (MAPS stands for “Missions Abroad Placement Service”). Justin returned to Tsukuba in the fall of 2016 and spent one year working alongside the Carters as the media/production coordinator and associate pastor at Tsukuba International Christian Assembly. This involved creating video promotional packages for the church, managing and creating social media content, installing and creating new production tools, directing and training the church’s new production team, preaching and pastoral duties, and much more!
While serving this one-year term, Justin’s love for and passion to reach the Japanese people continued to increase to the point that he began to ask the Lord if it was His will that Justin would dedicate his life to reaching the Japanese people through media and preaching the gospel. Justin’s question went unanswered for six months, but then as he was reading Hebrews 11, he saw that Abraham went to a foreign land, to a people not his own, because God told him to go. The Lord used that passage to call Justin to serve in Japan.
In response to God’s call, Justin has been appointed as an Assemblies of God Media Missionary to Japan and is preparing to move back to Tsukuba so that he can provide ongoing media resources and training for pastors and churches throughout Japan, all so that more Japanese people can come to know Jesus.
If you’ve read our pillar articles (which can be reached through the tabs at the top of this website), you know that our conviction is that all believers should be part of a team seeking to reach the unreached. Some will go, some will pray, some will provide financial support, some will provide logistical support.
One of the things I love about Justin’s heart that I see reflected on his website and in his social media presence (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, where his social media savvy is readily apparent) is that he calls the church to at least three of those avenues — encouraging us to pray, give, and go.
We would encourage you to learn more about Justin’s ministry and consider if God is calling you to be part of a team dedicated to reaching the unreached in Tsukuba, Japan!
Here are four ways you can be a part of Justin’s team:
- You can join Justin and the team in Tsukuba by subscribing to his newsletter and committing to pray for him on a regular basis.
- You can commit to supporting him financially.
- You can consider physically joining Justin and the rest of the team in Tsukuba to aid them in their work. Learn more.
- If you are a pastor or missions leader in your church, we would encourage you to get in touch with Justin to see how he might be able to encourage your people for the cause of missions in Japan and also to find out how you can be of service to him.