(Photos courtesy Asian Access)
Japan (MNN) ― Asian Access (A2) observes an important anniversary this month. Their leadership development program in Japan just marked 30 years, and 189 pastors helped to celebrate.
Asian Access President Joe Handley says ministry has come a long way since 1979. "The word on the street for Japan for decades has been 'it's a missionary's graveyard.'"
Not anymore. A2 picks a dozen church leaders to be a part of an accelerated two-year training program. The goal: to deploy 100 church multiplication teams.
When the twelve meet together, they are working through an established curriculum that accelerates their growth as spiritual leaders, as well as organizational leaders. Over the course of their training sessions, leaders in and outside of Japan resource them so they have what they need to grow.
By the time they are ready to graduate, they have developed skills to equip their congregation for effective service. At the end of the program, these church leaders lay out their long-term vision and then begin to develop strategies for growth and multiplication.
Handley explains that "over the next two to three years, we hope to double the amount of networks that we have in Japan. These networks are becoming a model for other countries as well."
As word about this work in Japan spread across Asia, interest grew. Mongolia was the first country to indicate interest. They adapted the Asian Access/Japan model and began training sessions in 1996.
Soon, other countries were added. Asian Access has established leader development programs in eight countries thus far, with an ambitious vision for establishing work in 20 countries by 2010.
An added benefit is that the strategy unifies the church body. As the leaders implement their plans for evangelism, discipleship and church growth, they share a common vision.
From that, Handley notes, "You see remarkable fruit from church planting movements that have birthed essentially from this leadership development institute that launched in Japan."
Once these pastors begin church planting, A2 networks three or more of them so they can make the best use of their strengths. They meet together for a period of 3-4 years, during which each pastor aims to reproduce a congregation.
The only thing holding back their growth is a lack of funding. Can you help? Click here.