Joe Handley




Stories from Joe Handley, president of Asian Access

- By Joe Handley -

Joining Forces in Japan Toward a Far-reaching Vision

Road to far-reaching vision

Asian Access plans to greatly expand ministry in Japan by aggressively developing its church multiplication movement. We plan to accomplish this goal by sending more church planting missionaries, as well as identifying even more emerging Japanese leaders to multiply churches at an accelerated rate.

In my posts about these plans, we have mentioned our pursuit of a new Vice President for Church Multiplication/Japan and the concept of seeking to form a strategic partnership with another mission organization. 

Paul McKaughanPaul McKaughan, Ambassador-at-Large for The Mission Exchange, recently completed a survey of more than 500 mission executives ("New Directions") that gives a glimpse of the future of mission advance. He concluded that mission organizations should sharpen their focus and hone in on areas of expertise rather than trying to be all-purpose missions. One of his recommendations was to align with new missional movements to share resources for mission advance.

Now I want to highlight some of the "nuts and bolts" issues we have faced over the last eighteen months in pursuing this expansion.

Reviewing our Model for Ministry

For over a year and a half, Asian Access has been actively seeking to discern how to best maximize the resources God has given us. Our desire to strategically leverage strengths has led us to review our vision, mission and values in addition to our ministry business model. Our staff has gone through a year of conversations to re-examine who we are and how we can best pursue the vision that God has given us.

This review highlighted for us the complexity of having two distinct ministry models. First, we are a missionary sending agency focused solely on Japan. Second, in Japan and eight other Asian countries, we are involved in a unique leadership development ministry.

We are currently praying to send more missionaries to Japan who can help foster church multiplication movements. However, research has revealed the challenge of being a small missionary sending agency focused on only one country. While we continue receiving compliments for our missionary sending philosophy and approach, we have struggled to maintain the financial infrastructure necessary for this model. We want to be wise kingdom stewards here. Yet it is apparent that our ministry business model as a sending-agency simply does not have, even at optimal levels of missionary units, enough "economy of scale" to truly be effective into the future.

Partnership that Leads to Alliance

Therefore, Asian Access is currently exploring the formation of a strategic partnership intended to lead to a strategic alliance of ministries focused on leadership development and church multiplication in Japan. In addition, we believe this partnership and eventual alliance will also serve as a synergistic catalyst for the ministry we run in leadership training across Asia.

Asian Access approached twelve sending-agencies to see if mutual synergy and interest could be beneficial to both parties. Now we are initiating deeper discussions with three of these potential mission partners, and intend to spend the next six months discovering which organization would be best positioned to partner with us.

How it Might Look

We are convinced that a strategic partnership will help us reach the goals of seeing churches multiplied in Japan. As Asian Access champions the vision and leads the work in Japan, the partner agency will serve to power the missionary sending engine. Asian Access/Japan missionaries would come under the sending umbrella of the partner agency and be seconded back to Asian Access/Japan for the purpose of church multiplication. The partner organization would be the primary recruiter and mobilizer for the church multiplication effort in Japan.

How You Can Help

  • Please keep us in your prayers as we pursue partnering with the organization that God wants us to work with. For more info, read these posts.
  • Consider if God might be calling you as a missionary to help plant churches in Japan. Find out more at:
  • Prayerfully consider if God is calling you to help provide the funding needed to advance the Gospel.

I'd like to hear your feedback. What do you think about the strategic partnership we are pursuing to advance the work in Japan?

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