Jeff Johnston

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Asian Access and SIM USA partner to send more church-planting missionaries to Japan

Strategic partnership just part of larger, collaborative vision

Strategic partnership just part of larger, collaborative vision

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A strategic partnership uniting Asian Access and SIM USA is aimed at sending more church-planting missionaries to Japan. By leveraging the strengths of the two mission-sending agencies, they hope to maximize effectiveness toward the goal of planting 1,000 church congregations in Japan by 2020.

Headquartered in Los Angeles, Asian Access is a 44-year-old mission organization that pioneered short-term English-teaching missions to Japan. The organization now develops leaders across Asia to multiply churches. Founded in 1893, SIM works on six continents with more than 2,100 missionaries from 65 countries—one-third from the United States alone. The U.S. headquarters is in Charlotte, N.C.

Following a three-year process of examining their organizations’ respective DNA, vision, mission and core values, the leadership teams determined to seize the opportunity to collaborate in forming a new model of mission work, one that will allow each entity to better utilize kingdom resources.

Joe Handley, President of Asian Access"SIM brings the stability of operational support that we needed and the mobilization horsepower to help us fulfill our vision and mission for Japan," said Joe Handley, president of Asian Access. "This strategic partnership is not a merger or simply a sharing of back office functions; it is truly a new way of doing mission together, each bringing their strengths and committing to a common Kingdom vision."

According to the agreement, SIM USA will partner with Asian Access to recruit and send missionaries to Japan to plant churches. SIM assumes responsibility for recruiting missionaries, as well as the financial accounting and related human resources functions of missionary training and U.S.-based care.

Asian Access retains responsibility for championing the overall vision in Japan, managing the strategy of missionary deployment through its vast network of Japanese churches, and caring for Japan-based missionary personnel.

Asian Access and SIM will remain independent, each maintaining its distinct and separate ministry and board of directors.

Bruce Johnson, President of SIM USA"This alliance immediately opens up a whole new country to send SIM missionaries, rather than having to set up a beachhead with a few pioneer missionaries," said Bruce Johnson, president of SIM USA. "On top of that, to partner with an organization like Asian Access, which already has history, success and reputation in Japan is a privilege and honor."

Johnson, a former vice president at Asian Access, said SIM’s global focus and Asian Access’ 2020 vision for Japan are a seamless fit.

"Within SIM, we are helping to create multicultural mission movements that respond to needs, proclaim the gospel, and equip the church," Johnson said. "And Asian Access' 2020 vision of helping Japanese pastors plant reproducible churches, as well as seeing a mission heart infused in those churches resonates with SIM."

Japan has long been considered a resistant mission field, one in which only 0.5% is Christian, and the overwhelming effects of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster of earlier this year have knocked Japan to its knees. These events may ultimately serve to transform the church and bring many to Christ.

Consequently, Handley said he believes the timing is right for this new partnership and for Japan.

"This bolstering is all the more important given the triple-disaster that hit Japan," he said. "This is a ‘kairos’ or God-moment for Japan that requires our best efforts to influence the country for the beauty of Christ and His Kingdom. We are thrilled to be working with such a strong mission like SIM and are eager to see the Lord work through our strategic partnership to fulfill his mandate for the people of Japan."

More information on this partnership and each organization can be found at online at www.asianaccess.org and www.simusa.org. Asian Access and SIM USA are utilizing the website, www.go2japan.org to engage people interested in serving in Japan.

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