I see that one of the requirements or qualifications for each ministry program is that I must be an active member of a local church. Why do you require such a qualification?
Many people ask this question. There are numerous reasons why we require this, but here are some central issues:
- Pastoral Spiritual Reference:
In reviewing/screening an application for missionary service with Asian Access, we would want to get a pastor's reference for you. It's hard to obtain such a reference if no pastor knows you well.
- Raising Financial and Prayer Support:
In order to raise the funds and prayer support necessary to go to Japan, missionary candidates need a local church (maybe more than one) to help financially support them and to pray for them.
- Confirmation & Commissioning:
Asian Access firmly believes that missionaries are confirmed through the endorsement of and God-sent through the commissioning by a local church body.
- Understanding Ministry Context:
In order to truly understand how to help a local church in Japan, one must be a contributing member of a local church body at home. In other words, being an active member of a local church gives you the both the understanding and the qualification to effectively minister in the context of a local church in Japan. The base for ministry in our work is through the local church, so having this experience as well as deep love for God's Church is crucial to effective ministry here in Japan.
- God's Vehicle for Christian Life & Ministry:
It's actually bigger than just understanding your ministry context in Japan. To be a growing Christian, we believe you need to be a part of God's chosen instrument for life and ministry, His Church. Yes, the Church is universal, but the best way we can do this is to be an active member of one local body of believers.
Finally, we do not think that Asian Access is alone in requiring this for all of our missionary applicants. We can't be sure, but it's probably the norm for most mission agencies.
Hopes this helps to answer this question.
Now we have a couple questions for you: Do you have a home church, where you accepted Christ or were baptized? Is there a church home in some place in which you are a member and where a pastor knows you personally? If not, it may mean that this outlines some next steps for you on your journey to serve as a missionary.