From the President

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Polycentric Mission Leadership

Toward A New Model for Global Leadership

The world went through some monumental shifts during my tenure in mission leadership. While many had been talking about partnership and collaboration, as well as paternalism and colonialism for many years, it was during early in my 30 years of ministry that major changes were burgeoning in many ways. Of course, the last few years this has accelerated on many fronts making these issues of critical importance.

I began in mission with a prime focus on sending North American missionaries as part of Christ’s great commission. But, after nearly a decade in mission, I noticed the rise of the Global South (or Majority World) in leading the body of Christ around the world. I moved to Istanbul to get a better sense of what was on the horizon, and it was there that my attention shifted to empowering indigenous leaders and focusing sending missionaries in more strategic, partnering roles in mission.

When I joined Asian Access, the global changes were paramount, and I sensed the need for a new approach to leadership. Thus, I studied a variety of approaches to see if there might be a better way. In this, I leaned on my own heritage. I learned from a family business (mainly from my father) to approach leadership in a team-oriented fashion. That set the stage for a collaborative way of leading that I continued learning while at Azusa Pacific University and later at Rolling Hills Covenant Church. I found that I was at my best in these relational approaches via interacting with a wide array of leaders from various constituencies trying to foster a community of like-minded yet entrepreneurial people.

Polycentric Mission Leadership is a fresh paradigm that challenges the status quo! Joe Handley draws deeply from theological, missiological, academic, and personal experience and provides this much needed book. He is my go-to person when it comes to leading global teams!”
— J. D. PAYNE
Missiologist, Author, Professor

Along the way, I discovered a series of developments from governance and mission history that complimented my natural collaborative style. It was in this environment where I discovered key themes (or traits) that make up a polycentric approach to leadership. It’s a new theoretical model that we had been experimenting with during my time with Asian Access. This new book unpacks what I have been learning and provides a call to further exploration.

I hope you enjoy seeing what I’ve learned and sharing what insights you have to add. As the world facing increasing polarization and seems to fracture away, we need each other more than ever. I pray this effort helps us seek a better way forward.

The book is currently available via Regnum Press in the U.K. 

And, soon it should be out in digital formats as well.

Thanks in advance for engaging with the ideas and interacting with us to see what God will do through what I believe is a Trinitarian approach to leadership.

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Joe Handley
President, Asian Access

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Joe Handley | My bio
handley joe 2021 headshot8834 lr 300x300pxJoe joined Asian Access as president in 2008 and has logged many miles traveling across the Asian continent. One thing he has learned is to platform other leaders. In this blog, he hopes to share some of their stories that will encourage you to engage with Asian Access that strives to change the few, who change the many.

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