Asian Access looks for coaches and 'spiritual fathers' for the growing body of Christ in Asia

ASIA (MNN) ― The church in Asia is booming. Faced with the population of the region, identifying and targeting key "influencers" is as important as evangelizing them.

The need for spiritual mentors in Asia is huge. First Generation believers are coming to the forefront as leaders. However, this generation essentially has no "spiritual fathers."

Joe Handley with Asian Access says many times the new Christian leaders find themselves woefully underprepared to minister. "They're thrown into the thick of being pastors, oftentimes shortly coming to Christ. Other times, there are Bible schools and seminaries, but they aren't really equipping them with the kind of mentoring and discipleship that it takes to lead the church."

The model they're following comes out of the New Testament church. The situation they face is not unlike Paul investing in Timothy and then having a Barnabus alongside of him. Yet the dearth of mentors means many of these pastors are left wanting. Handley says, "They're the ‘Timothys' of the world today , but there's no ‘Paul' that is investing in their lives, and there's no ‘Barnabus' to come alongside. S, the need is tremendous."

A2s pastoral team says these leaders have the desire to build on God's investment in their nation. Looking back over a 200-year survey of missions in their nation reveals God's blessing on evangelistic work despite oppressive circumstance.

That legacy galvanized this team's commitment to training up new leaders to fulfill the Great Commission as one of the greatest missionary sending countries in the world.

Asian Access is helping to flesh out this vision with the help of experienced pastors and disciplers. Handley explains: "We'll have 12 pastors in a session and then a seasoned veteran pastor that comes in and helps coach and mentor and disciple these fellows. The time they get is so rich and rewarding, plus they're learning from one another, which creates a dynamic community of learning."

So, what you're doing is taking leadership development to the next level? "It's really strengthening the capacity of pastors throughout Asia, and it's really facilitating the church planting movement."

Asian Access has established leader development programs in nine countries with the vision for establishing work in 20 countries in the next several years. There is more information on how you can help here.


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Asian Access leadership development expands organically

ASIA (MNN) ― Asia (MNN) ― Church leadership development in Asia is a challenge.

A2 Leadership Development participantLeadership training for Asian Access started as the Japan Church Growth Institute and has grown to nine countries across Asia.

The key to its effectiveness is the careful selection of twelve emerging leaders on an annual basis. These leaders are then invited to be a part of a class that meets four times a year, for a week at a time, over a two-year period.

When the twelve meet together, they are working through an established curriculum that accelerates their growth as spiritual leaders, as well as organizational leaders.

As word about this work in Japan spread across Asia, interest grew. Asian Access began to explore how to help leaders in other places in Asia.

When the indigenous church began owning it, the growth was exponential in one of the largest countries in Asia. Joseph Handley, President of Asian Access, or A2, says, "'In the provincial capitals, we'll call it 'B2,'" describing how the enthusiasm for a homegrown A2 movement began spreading.

What's more exciting, Handley says, "They've launched an entire movement of leadership training that follows this vision: to be a vibrant community of servant leaders with vision, character and competence, leading the church across Asia."

Because the Gospel is making huge inroads, "Not only did they start a B2 movement--the country is so large and they want to impact more rural areas--they've now started a C2 movement," says Handley.

In India, A2 leaders want to start their own B2 movement. Handley says prayer is huge, and a lot hinges on the identification of the right leaders. "As we look toward expansion in countries like India, one of the most critical components we have is finding the right pastor who will become a regional or city leader to lead the effort."

You can find out more about how you can help. Click here for details.

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Asian Access develops training model for new Asian Christians

Asia (MNN) ― Recently, Asia has seen unprecedented church growth. A chief model is a Buddhist country, whose number of believers has increased from 50,000 to 1.5 million in the last decade.

Asian Access is in that country as well as others across Asia. Joe Handley of Asian Access said these unfounded numbers stem from people's dissatisfaction with the current systems they are under, as well as the movement of God within their hearts.

"There's a spiritual hunger in many of the countries throughout Asia ... and they realize that the religious value systems and cultural value systems that they hold are not providing the kinds of answers they're looking for," Handley said.

With such growth, however, danger arises, as congregations lack proper leadership, and the leadership they do have can be corrupt for lack of guidance.

That's why Asian Access has developed a training model for new believers, Handley said, focusing on a person's deep commitment to Christ and their character before they begin to disciple others: "We are focusing on four key outcomes:

  1. Living in a love relationship with God,
  2. Growing as Christ-like leaders,
  3. Reproducing disciple-making leaders, and...
  4. Planting and multiplying churches."

A2 leadership development model focuses on 4 outcomes in the life of the pastor.

This training is a two-year process whereby 12 leaders are mentored, just like Jesus and his 12 disciples.

"The more you can focus on abiding in Christ and Christ-like character, the more you strengthen the church," Handley said, strengthening it enough to withstand such rapid growth and allow for even more rejoicing when more individuals find Christ.

Pray for Asian Access as they continue this endeavor. Would you be interested in partnering with Asian Access as they mentor these future leaders? Visit the Asian Access Web site where you can also find out more about other aspects of their ministry.


This article was first published by Mission Network News and can be read here:

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Asian Access addressing Japan's crisis

Map of Japan

JAPAN ( MNN ) ― Japan's debt crisis could mirror that of Greece. For the last two decades, the government has been spending more and borrowing more from its citizens to compensate. As a result, Japan's debt-to-GDP ratio is the largest in the world.

A new report shows that the financial distress is having an impact on mental health and well-being. It reveals a 2.9 percent increase in suicides in 2007, which means Japan is the most suicide-prone country in the developed world.   

The new trend: adults in the prime of their lives are most at risk of suicide. Why? Work-related depression is emerging as a significant factor, among others.

A failing economy is pushing up the suicide rate to epidemic proportions. Couple this with a latch-key/shut-in children problem and a disintegrating family unit, and the future for this nation is grim. 

Joe Handley with Asian Access says God has called them to respond specifically. "Ultimately, our vision is to expand the ministry, collaborate broadly with other churches throughout Japan, identify Japanese churches that have a vision for church multiplication, send more missionaries to the country, and finally, work in holistic ministries throughout the land." 

Now that they've defined a problem and have a plan, there's a lot of excitement and hope. Handley says they're still working out the details. "We're just on the verge of launching a whole new effort, but we're not quite ready to announce our plan. That will be coming out over the next few months."

It's a big endeavor that needs prayer. "Pray that God will provide the resources necessary to do this kind of expansion."

Keep following A2's Web site and posts at Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn for more information.

Updates can be found here:


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A2 Expands in Japan to Plant More Churches

Bamboo path

JAPAN (MNN) ― "God has us moving down an unknown path, and it's going to be exciting to watch it unfold." That's President of Asian Access Joe Handley.

He says Asian Access is preparing for the future, and as a part of that plan, A2 has embarked on an 18-month discovery process to review their vision, mission, strategic goals and DNA.

Church leaders to meet in Cape Town for Third Lausanne Congress 

Cape Town 2010CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA (MNN) ― There's a saying that goes: "The strength of your diversity is the strength of your unity."

It means that many parts can function well if they are motivated under a common purpose. It's also a picture of the body of Christ, united in making His name central. That's a driving force behind Cape Town 2010, the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization. It's a ten-day gathering that begins October 16.

Asian Access is just one group of hundreds participating. A2 President Joseph Handley says, "This event is only held once every 15 to 20 years, so it's a significant event that will set the course for world evangelization for the next decade or two."

What is the Lausanne Movement? It's a body formed from a movement aimed at "The Whole Church taking the Whole Gospel to the Whole World." Lausanne III will take a cross-section of church leaders and help them figure out how to keep the Gospel at the forefront of their ministry.

A little history:

1966 - The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, in partnership with America's Christianity Today magazine, sponsored the World Congress on Evangelism in Berlin.

1974 - 2,700 participants and guests from over 150 nations gathered in the Swiss Alps for ten days of discussion, fellowship, worship and prayer. The Congress achieved an unprecedented diversity of nationalities, ethnicities, ages, occupations and denominational affiliations. Out of this meeting came the Lausanne Covenant. It helped set the stage for new collaborative efforts among Christians. To this day, the Lausanne Covenant serves as a basis for unity and a call to global evangelization. Organizers got a mandate to establish a Continuation Committee that would build on the momentum created at the Congress.

1975 - The Continuation Committee held its first meeting in Mexico City. Committee members expressed a wide variety of viewpoints regarding the future of the movement.

2010 - The goal of Cape Town 2010 is to re-stimulate the spirit of Lausanne represented in the Lausanne Covenant: to promote unity, humbleness in service, and a call to action for global evangelization.

Handley says, "We'll be sitting down together--there will be 4000 global leaders and delegates at the congress--discussing several key issues, and kind of wrestling through the problems that we are facing and how can we address them."

The issues run the gamut from bioethics to social justice to spiritual warfare as they relate to the future of the Church and world evangelization. Ministry leaders are hoping to draw on their strengths, work together united under Christ, and become more effective.

While some leaders tend to shape their ministry approach after a business model, there are others who promote a more relational model within the context of the community. For everything there is a season. Cape Town 2010 will be a time for listening, building, helping, changing and growing. For some, it means starting over.

It's a time for casting vision and figuring out how to make that a reality. There's a lot of anticipation about how this will look once the Congress concludes.

One thing is clear, Handley says: "At the end of the day, at the end of this ten-day congress, we hope to come out with a greater sense of unity in the body of Christ worldwide, a great sense of clarity for the Gospel, and then finally, [a greater sense of] the top priorities of the task before us in reaching the world for Christ."

There are challenges before Cape Town 2010. Some of them involve finances. Some involve spiritual warfare. Some are physical, with endurance tested in keeping things moving forward for the delegates.

Momentous kingdom building strides were made at the last Congress. "Pray for a sense of our own centeredness in Christ; for peace and wisdom with all the things that are coming our direction. And then, for us, as an Asian Access family, we have our own financial and prayer needs as well."

There are many ways you can participate. Not only can individuals watch proceedings on the Internet, there will also be 400 anchor sites providing global links in 60 nations. Participants at theological institutions, mission sites, and churches worldwide will be able to interact with those at the congress.

There's a GlobaLink here.

Listen to the Broadcast: 

{enclose mnn/4-5min-Oct11-2010.mp3}

(less than 5 minutes)

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