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: 

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Asian Access making key contributions to Cape Town

Cape Town 2010 logo

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA (MNN)  He was invited as a delegate from the United States. He will also be a table moderator. We're talking about President of Asian Access Joe Handley and his participation in Cape Town 2010.

Handley says he'll not only be listening to God, "but also kind of engaging the critical issues that the world is facing today and how the church can best help address them."

Joe Handley

Handley says A2 comes alongside pastors across Asia and helps develop them for ministry. He says, "So, there are going to be many issues that we're covering in the next few days that will help develop the life of pastors, help them strengthen their congregations, and then as well help them facilitate outreach in their countries and beyond."

These efforts are expanding the work of Asian Access. "We work in nine countries across Asia right now. And next year we're prayerfully going to launch our 10th country, as well as two new regions in a couple of the largest countries in the world," says Handley.

Handley says one of the plenary sessions focus on Christ being our peace, "and how does that reflect on our lives and our ministries today and how does that affect the church. And we followed that with some powerful stories of reconciliation in various parts of the world and how the body of Christ can be agents of change and transformation in the world."

According to Handley, he's expecting a great move of the Holy Spirit. "I really believe that the Spirit of God is going to speak in and through us, and at the end of the day we're going to come up with some significant sense of what God is doing for the next two decades in ministry for the church."

You can follow Lausanne Live at  

Listen to the Broadcast for several news updates* from Cape Town 2010

* includes breaking news of a cyber attack against the Congress 

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Doug Birdsall of Lausanne at Cape Town 2010Doug Birdsall, an Asian Access missionary and member of A2's Board of Directors, serves as Executive Chair of Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization. In addition, several board members, staff, faculty serve in key roles for Cape Town 2010, as well as the greater Lausanne Movement. 

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Asian Access taps veteran missionary for post in Japan

mjwilson-2009-webJAPAN (MNN) ― In 2008--the latest year for which data are available from the Ministry of Labor, Health and Welfare, Japan's birthrate was 1.37 children per woman.

The average life span is roughly 80 years (79.29 years for men, 86.05 years for women) which means that the children have longer to support more and more members of the older generation. However, in 1997, sociologists noted that the elderly outnumbered the younger generation, and that number is only growing. 

Add to that rising unemployment and a flat job market, and younger people spend more time on the job making themselves indispensable. The combination has taken a fluid culture and created a clumsy replica of its former self. 

Asian Access saw the tremendous social challenges, which included rising suicide rates, latch-key/shut-in children, and disintegrating families. They also saw the spiritual needs of Japan with less than 1% of the population following Christ.

As a result, they understood God was calling them to expand ministry in Japan.   

To do that, they needed someone with a heart for Japan to oversee the growth. Enter: Mary Jo Wilson. Today, she launches into her role as A2's new Vice President to Japan. "Of course, our focus is always church planting, church multiplication, and partnering with the Japanese pastors. So I hope to strengthen that and prepare for what God has in the future."

Wilson sees her role as part inspirational, part counselor, and part director, as she develops the direction for the A2 Strategic Partnership. One of the challenges will be preparing the leaders. "In Japan, it's an aging generation, so the youth will be carrying that burden into the next several decades. I think we see that in the church our pastors are older and that it's a matter of passing that baton to the younger generation and seeing the younger generation reached."

The mission of A2 is "to unite the church, multiply leaders and congregations, and extend the transforming power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ." This will be especially important as the society responds to its stressors. Wilson agrees. "I've heard some say that it's a fatherless nation because the fathers have been very committed  to their work, and the children have not connected well with fathers; after this goes on for a generation or two, there definitely is some fallout."

Wilson goes on to say the time is right to resource Christian communities. "I think the church is looking for practical ways to respond to that. We're seeing more emphasis on marriage issues, and I see just a more holistic approach to sharing the Gospel, ministering to individuals and families, and really transforming society in that way."

Why Japan? It all started with Urbana. Wilson picked up some literature about ministry in Japan but was still hoping to be a part of medical missions on "a real mission field." 

After Haiti, God reminded her about Japan. "Two years later, I looked at that, and God told me to turn that in. I thought, ‘This is one of those tests.' And I, in obedience, turned it in. I wound up going to Japan for the summer, and there was no turning back."

Wilson learned what defined a true "mission field." She explains: "The spiritual need is just overwhelming. He gave me new eyes, I think, to see what a mission field is and to understand the need there. Yes, I just fell in love with the people and fully became committed to sharing the Gospel with them."

Please pray for Wilson as she works to accelerate A2's church-planting work in Japan.

Listen to the MNN broadcast... (4 mins. 30 secs.)

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