A summary from three blogs: A2 Community + From The President + A2 Stories on Mission Network News
Sri Lanka (MNN) – Flood waters in Sri Lanka are slowly receding now, revealing the extent of the damage from last week’s torrent. Asian Access’ Joe Handley says what they’re hearing from their partners is that, “It’s the worst disaster to hit the nation in the last five years.”
The UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in its situation report, “Many of the affected population, particularly in the rural areas, were already amongst the most vulnerable in the country and have now lost everything, including their homes, possessions, agricultural land and means of making a living.”
The water’s surge forced more than 350,000 people from their homes. Government officials also anticipate the death toll to rise well beyond too. “They’re estimating”, explains Handley, that “at least the last I’ve seen, over two billion dollars’ damage that occurred across the country.”
In fact, last week’s deluge is considered by some aid groups to be the worst natural disaster in the Indian Ocean region since the 2004 tsunami.
“I’m getting reports that there are still places that are under eight feet of water after four days of rains”, he notes, adding, this disaster hit families living in both rural and urban areas; it destroyed more than 125,000 houses and triggered deadly landslides. Many people have returned home to find it in ruins, buried in mud or filled with stagnant water.
The government’s asking for help supplying mats, bed sheets and mobile toilet units for the displaced people. Damage estimates are expected to exceed US$2 billion. Although the government has promised compensation to survivors, details remain unclear.
However, because A2 responded 12 years ago with the tsunami, they know how to respond to this crisis, too.
“These churches have been reaching out in the midst of this disaster, and many of their friends, family, communities have been hit. They’re trying to come alongside and provide shelter, provide food, provide encouragement, emotional healing in the midst of the pain.”
Figuring out the next step prompted an early recall of Sri Lanka’s parliament. They met yesterday to discuss reconstruction and rehabilitation. In the urban areas, it’s easier. The further out you go, the harder it gets to mobilize any help, says Handley. “Colombo is the biggest city, but most of the areas hit are rural areas that don’t have a lot of resources.”
Because A2 has experience in crisis, they’ve gained respect. “We’ve even seen Buddhist priests who have blocked renegade activities against the church simply because they have seen the body of Christ come in and help the community so much in the midst of these disasters.”
Nothing is sure. A2 Sri Lankan partners are in the thick of the disaster. Right now, they’re doing a situation assessment. Until they know what they’re actually dealing with, Handley says, “People are always surprised that ‘what, tangibly, can I do?’ and oftentimes, the most important thing you can do is start with prayer. Prayer fuels the power of Christ in those regions, and stirs in our own hearts so as we pray, we’re mindful of what God is doing in those areas.”
The cyclone pummeled Sri Lanka for four days before moving on to swipe at Bangladesh. Information is still trickling in about recovery efforts there. For details on how the Church is acting in the name of Christ in disaster, click here.
Listen to the broadcast (top story)
I had a blast co-teaching with Mary Jo Wilson, Asian Access vice president for missional engagement, these last two weeks in India! She did a great job as you can see captured in these photos…
Mary Jo led the pastors through a culture game that had everyone actively engaged and experiencing a taste of how difficult it is to operate in another culture. Watching the pastors try to figure out each others tribes was hilarious. Some even resorted to fighting, practically speaking.
Then she spoke further about mission strategy as you’ll see in these other photos. The slide on the value of discipleship and multiplication gave a poignant example of the importance of making disciples rather than simply focusing on conversions. Over time, the impact of disciple making movements is powerful!
Then, she showed an excellent illustration highlighting our core value of being ALL IN with God. She used the cycle of grace verses the cycle of works where we gain life through focusing on Jesus before we engage in ministry. I’m eager to learn more about Cycles of Grace.
I encourage you to give Mary Jo a big shout out at firstname.lastname@example.org AND feel free to ask her about what she taught. She was a great co-teacher and I’m sure the pastors enjoyed having her as faculty. Even further, you should’ve seen the smiles on their wives faces as Mary Jo was teaching. Those ladies eyes were glued on her the whole time and their smiles were beaming from ear to ear!
Great job, Mary Jo! What an inspirational week in South India...
Sri Lanka (MNN) – At least 37 people are dead following Sri Lanka’s incessant rains and mudslides. Countless others remain missing, reports CNN.
Hundreds of thousands of people have been affected by the rains, which have come earlier than the usual monsoon season expected later in this month.
Entire houses have been submerged beneath rising water. Sri Lanka’s army, police, and navy are conducting search and rescue operations, digging out survivors. But with the heavy rains have come mudslides.
Adrian De Visser with Asian Access from Sri Lanka says, “It continued to rain for about three days. And so we kept hearing mudslides and entire villages being buried in the mudslides.”
But Sri Lanka’s church isn’t leaving help only up to the government. “As a church, we are responding by providing food, water. And people just escaped with what was on their body. So we are trying to gather as much help as we can to provide immediate relief for people,” De Visser explains.
And Asian Access, who focuses on training up leaders, is also concerned for Sri Lankan’s physical state. They are helping in the midst of this disaster in a couple of ways.
Immediate Relief: People are taking shelter wherever they can, including churches. But they also need food, clothes, water, and other things to help the immediate situation.
Long-term Relief: Once the waters dry up, these people will be left with nothing. Then the rebuilding will begin. Just as Asian Access has stepped up in other areas during disasters like in Japan, De Visser expects it will be the same for Sri Lanka.
But, Sri Lanka has strong roots in Buddhism with much hostility towards Christians. It is a country which takes pride in this fact. However, De Visser says he believes God will use this disaster ultimately for good and he hopes that as the Christian Church steps up and cares for various individuals, the peoples’ hearts would softened to God’s word.
Pray Sri Lankans would come to know Christ as they watch the Church move and care for them in this time in need. Also pray the country would recover not just from this disaster, but the civil war that ravaged Sri Lanka from 1983 to 2009. But most of all, pray the Gospel would be heard and lives would be changed.
To donate to Asian Access and help relief efforts, click here!
Listen to the broadcast (top story)
Takeshi Takazawa of Asian Access reports that there are over 100 churches in the Kyushu earthquake disaster area and surrounding vicinity in SW Japan.
Those churches together created the "Kyushu Christian Relief Center" and it's already functioning. One of the on-site leaders is an alumnus of our leader development program, Pastor Yoji Nakamura. Together, they are distributing relief goods and helping out individual victims by removing debris from their houses.
Pastor Yoshiya Hari called for prayer for this group, "Please pray for those in this network to really work together as the body of Christ and to reach out to their communities in Kyushu."
In addition, please pray for these earthquakes to come to an end. You might think they were just two big earthquakes, but over 500 aftershock earthquakes that people can actually feel are continuing. Because of those aftershocks, people are so concerned and uncertain about even sleeping inside buildings, so people are going outside and sleeping.
It's important to remember that the ministry of the church is continuing throughout the entire rescue, relief and rebuilding phases. Pray for this for rebuilding, and not just the physical aspect, but also the spiritual aspect, due to the greater church's work. Pray that each church and all the spiritual leaders both inside and outside—and also global church—will be be able to minister in a way that tangibly shows in this crisis and uncertainty that certain love and the hope and the hands of love that they can see and they can feel and that they can really rely on.
Rev. Paul Kiichi Ariga added, "Each time these disasters occur, Japanese Christians accept it as God's happening that He will bring a new day for Japan to reach people with a gospel of Jesus Christ, actually helping those people with love action and showing God's heart."
Takazawa also urged Christians to pray:
Pray that this effort will be able to bring unity. When the Northeast triple disaster happened, God used all those efforts to bring the Church together. And we are praying as Jesus was praying that we will be one, like Jesus and the Father and we will be able to unite together that's what I am praying for.
Thank you for your prayers on behalf of the victims of the earthquakes in Southwest Japan.
...or send your check to Asian Access, PO Box 3307, Cerritos, CA 90703.
We had another fun week in India as the 3rd group of pastors graduated on Thursday evening. These two pastors pulled me aside to personally thank me for the investment of Asian Access.
The first guy shocked me. He said:
"A2 questioned my orthodox ways of thinking!”
I was a little worried to be honest with you. I thought, Oh boy, what happened? However, he went on to talk about orthodox methodology rather than theology. Too funny! Here’s what he shared:
The second pastor said,
“The A2 module on discipleship totally changed my paradigm!"
While these are exciting stories to hear, they are just a small sample of so many more amazing stories. I’ll have to share them in the future.
The highlight for me, though, was how deep the most important thing sunk in: that ministry flows from being not from doing! It is only out of our “Love Relationship with Christ” that any of us can bear fruit that will last. All the graduates clearly saw a keen picture of this vital truth in ministry. That warms my heart!
I can’t wait to share more stories from Asian Access/South India!
On our third day at Asian Access Global Leaders’ Summit, C.B. Samuel once again challenged us. This day was quite challenging indeed as you can tell from the title of this blog. I encourage you to listen to C.B.’s entire lesson below, but to give you a few doozies as teasers, here’s a little of what you can expect:
Wow, what a profound few days with C.B. Samuel. I encourage you to listen to these audio recordings. I’ve only given you a glimpse with these choice quotes. These files are well worth downloading and listening to!
As I mentioned the other day, C.B. Samuel led our Global Leaders’ Summit in some rich reflections on our values at Asian Access. The first day his focus was our Intimacy with God (see "They were lost in God.").
This posting is about his second day and the importance of community. We have the audio of this recorded message and you can listen to C.B’s wisdom here:
Let me just tease you to listen to this tremendous teaching by selecting some of his choice quotes:
This photo was taken at the recent A2 Global Leaders' Summit. Some people in our community are turned backward because they need to be anonmyous. But we stand with these friends; they are members of our community.
We need leaders today about whom we say, “They were lost in God!” - C.B. Samuel
A few weeks ago, Asian Access held our Global Leaders’ Summit in Jakarta, Indonesia. It was one of the best summit gatherings of my nearly eight years of ministry with Asian Access! The fellowship and partnership with one another across eleven nations is strong, the sense of community grows year after year, and the mutual support and rallying behind one another is second to none. We had a powerful week together.
One of the highlights is captured in this quote above by C.B. Samuel who helped start Asian Access/India and who serves on our India Council of Reference. Each day C.B. shared about one of our core values and this quote came in reference to our first and primary ministry value: ALL IN with God. We often say that everything in ministry and life flows from “A Love Relationship with God”!
In essence, C.B. shared that we as Church leaders need to be lost in God! Without him, we can do nothing (John 15). He walked us through the Old Testament and the life of a number of characters highlighting the importance of a walk with Jesus.
Here are some salient and wise points about being a Spiritual Leader:
Which one represents your intentional focus these days?
Intimacy refers to a consistency of relationship with God. One of the problems in ministry is we can pretend to be intimate with God.
This is something we need to redefine. Daniel was selected because he was gifted, smart and capable. He was a man of high character. God even revealed to him dreams about his whole nation. Doing rather than being in God’s presence!
But even with all this, his number one priority was clear to keep God #1 in his life and not to do that which displeased God. He walked with God… and enjoyed a deep experience with Him. Daniel nurtured this relationship. He set his mind on it, effectively saying, "I have one passion: to know your heart!”
Mediocracy has no place in relationship with God. One of the problems we have in ministry is that leaders can pick up competence (DOing), but not have relationship with God (BEing)!
David had beautiful expressions of his intimacy with God.
What do people, especially your children, see in your life? Can they see that you are lost in God? Or something else?
Are you lost in God? God is asking us, “Do you really, intentionally love me?” If you are not doing this, you cannot teach your people to love God. It’s learned by examples, whether it's a leader in the Old Testament or us. Our kids and disciples know how to love God because they’ve seen it modeled before them.
C.B. really challenged me to ask myself, can I go deeper still with Jesus? “Without Him, I can do nothing!”
Being in India this week has truly inspired me. The alumni caught the vision of being community and even more importantly of living in a love relationship with God: They are ALL IN with God and they LIVE Community! They are also all committed to Accelerating Kingdom Leaders BUT, it’s important to note that this only flows out of our/their love relationship with God: John 15:1-16 Just see John 15:5 alone -
"I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing."
Two of those pictured here (I won’t point out which one’s to protect their identity) are alumni of Asian Access. Their stories poignantly highlight this third core value of ours: Accelerating Kingdom Leaders!
One of them was a graduate of the first batch in country and he said today that his church had become complacent, not living out this third value that we focused on this week in the module: We are blessed to be a blessing! - Genesis 12:1-3 His church went from a nice, thriving fellowship: a deep rooted community embodying the values of Christ together to one that is now multiplying (bearing much fruit)! Today, they are planting 4 more fellowships in his city and challenging them to reach those who have never heard the Gospel. We learned this week that nearly half the unreached people groups in the world live in India and many live right next door to churches in cities like this!
Beyond this, two of his church members moved to another city and have had difficulty finding a fellowship that embodies the type of community and disciple-making that his church lives out. After our next week together in another module, he is going to visit them as they have asked to start a fellowship in their city! How cool is that! Another fellowship, a fifth church, is being started that will live out these types of kingdom values.
The other graduate was from the fourth batch and actually co-taught with me this week. He was so inspired that he decided to duplicate the leadership training within his denomination: one of the most expansive denominations in this region. They are now empowering pastors and lay leaders using the same exact format as Asian Access within their system and they are doing it in Hindi so as to reach more people! He’s convinced that they will reach far more of their nation by equipping in the local languages and as they do so, many unreached and unengaged peoples will be reached through the empowerment and releasing of kingdom leaders! That is so exciting!
As I listened to many of these graduates share their strategy paper, I realized that they are all committed to these Jesus values:
Out of their walk with Jesus and inspired by the rich community, they have sensed God calling them to plant so many churches in India. If I got the numbers correct, they will be on their way to seeing 268 churches planted across the Northern part of the country by 2020. How encouraging to hear this!
Are you inspired to listen closely to God and see what vision he has for you? Have you spent rich times with Jesus lately, daily, seeking his face? Have you processed what you are learning and hearing with a community of people committed to you and God? I’d love to see how God inspires you as you live out these values… Share with me/us if you’re giving this a try!
I had the privilege of welcoming the newest group of graduates to the Asian Access family yesterday: “a vibrant community of servant leaders… leading the Church across Asia… to unite the Church, multiply leaders and congregations, and extend the transforming power of the Gospel.”
This group inspired me as they shared the impact of the last two and half years. I thought you might enjoy hearing their praise:
And finally this creative summary captured things so well:
"If any pastor is in Asian Access, He/She becomes a new creation; old ministry perspectives pass away and behold, a new love relationship with Jesus established... for a greater, sweeter and more fruitful ministry.” — Alumnus RK
— A2 5:1-8 (A2=Asian Access, 5 stands for Batch/Class #5, 1-8 stands for our 8 modules)
Last week, the Asian Access family gathered for a rich community experience. We were in Jakarta, Indonesia for our Global Leaders’ Summit. What a fantastic week we had together. It was one of my all-time favorite summits!
What made it so special? - COMMUNITY!
This is one of our three core values at Asian Access: We LIVE Community! You can learn more about our values here: Asian Access' Core Values.
As we gathered together, we prayed and took a collection to help our persecuted friends in Bangladesh… Read their stories here:
At our summit, we prayed for our brothers from Bangladesh as they shared how they will come around the family who has lost their husband (the pastor) and how they have been a witness to Christ in the midst of the suffering. Their video stories will be posted later which you won’t want to miss… Stay tuned!
This wasn’t all we did together though. We spent time playing together—soccer, volleyball, plus racing across a ropes course and doing a zip line. It was a ton of fun, though the humidity was intense to say the least.
One of our colleagues from China, we’ll call "John" to protect his identity shared how he never takes breaks like this, preferring to study and be in isolation most of the time. This experience really profoundly impacted him as he enjoyed being with brothers from all over Asia.
We also spent rich times in the Word of God which I’m sure several of us may blog about later. C.B. Samuel, who serves on our Reference Council in India took us deep into our core values:
Wow, these sessions were nothing short of astounding and everyone enjoyed the interaction times we had following his sharing. We were able to process in smaller groups what God was teaching us and I particularly found the session on Community impacting. Others preferred the other sessions which was a sign of how deeply moving our time with C.B. proved to be. I found the sharing on Living Community so profound that I was sharing his insights over twitter throughout his presentation.
Here are several quotes I posted:
Talk about rich wisdom!
As you can see, at Asian Access we strive to truly LIVE Community! We’re not perfect. We have our flaws for sure. But we seek to embody the kingdom through building capacity of kingdom leaders in such a way that we truly we be community together. As we walk deeply with Jesus “All in with God”, and seek to “LIVE Community”, we believe kingdom leaders will be enhanced “Accelerated Kingdom Leaders”. In this greater ecosystem, Jesus brings transformation: transformation of our lives, our marriages, our families, our churches, our communities and our nations!
How do you practice this kingdom value? LIVE Community… We’d like to learn from you!
I felt an urgency to get this letter to you immediately! A generous, kindhearted donor has recently offered a $100,000 matching gift for earthquake relief in Southwest Japan. So now I want to give you an opportunity to respond to this huge need, starting with assisting Pastor Yoji Nakamura of Kumamoto Harvest Church. But let me provide some context for you…
As you know, the Island of Kyushu in Southwest Japan was hit by two very large earthquakes and multitudes of smaller tremors continue to rock the area.
Yet, if we’ve learned one thing from Japan’s Triple Disaster of 3/11/2011, it’s that the compassionate actions of the Church of Japan can bring hope and practical support in the midst of great fear and pain.
The Church has risen up to help their brothers and sisters in the midst of this most recent crisis and to this day, people in Northeast Japan still talk about how followers of Jesus are the only ones still there long after all the relief workers have left the country. In addition to providing relief and care, more people have been reached through the Gospel in the last five years than any comparable period since the end of World War II.
Asian Access has plenty of experience in Japan, Nepal and Sri Lanka following natural disasters. Our philosophy of disaster relief is to leverage our relationships and resource the local church to truly become God’s primary vehicle for delivering ministry.
We have strong ties to churches on Kyushu Island where the earthquakes hit, having launched a church multiplication network there about 10 years ago. One of our alumni in the area is Yoji Nakamura. After planting Kumamoto Harvest Church, he participated in the Asian Access Pastor Training program and later in a church multiplication network with two other churches and Asian Access missionaries.
After the earthquakes in Kyushu, Rev. Nakamura immediately formed a network with other pastors for relief efforts. They coordinate the work with volunteers coming from outside the area. They are distributing goods as well as clearing debris. Now he and other leaders are asking to connect with pastors from the triple disaster in northern Japan to strategize their ministry in Kumamoto.
Additionally, Asian Access missionaries have already made their first trip into the relief zone to help deliver goods and assess the needs. They told stories of people who were trying to retrieve goods from their condemned properties and of feeling the fear of the people they met.
Will you partner with us to come alongside local pastors like Yoji Nakamura to continue to minister to the people in great needs in his community?
Let’s seize this opportunity to make an eternal difference in Japan. Will you consider making a gift of $50, $100, $250 or even $1,000 that will be doubled for the people of Southwest Japan?
Yours for a stronger Church in Japan,
Joseph W. Handley, Jr.
President – Asian Access
...or send your check to Asian Access, PO Box 3307, Cerritos, CA 90703.
I’ve been reading a lot of news lately… The election has been on my mind a fair amount and most of you know where I stand there. At this point, it’s looking like I’ll be voting for a third party candidate or making a write in vote!
More important than all of that though, is what I’ve been reading about where the world is heading and how we can be strategic influences. All the strategic analyses I’m seeing seem to point in the same direction: Asia is going to be crucial in the coming decades. Just take a look at this collection of graphs I found from places like the Economist Intelligence Unit, the World Economic Forum, etc... Check these out! (Click to enlarge.)
Asia’s influence on the world is critical. That is precisely why we at Asian Access are wholeheartedly committed to building the capacity of kingdom leaders across this great continent.
Please pray as we seek to come alongside emerging kingdom leaders to help them accelerate in their calling as pastors, business leaders, and servants of Jesus. May they shepherd the Church as followers of Jesus to be the difference makers God wants them to be! I believe they are going to be the heroes in the coming generations of this world!
By Rod Denton, Equipping The Next Generation
A recent study in America by George Barna concluded that only 7% of pastors in America had the gift of leadership. His conclusion, “Where have all the leaders gone?”
In a recent article by Ed Stetzer called ‘My Love/Hate Relationship With Leadership’, he writes “The difficulty is that leadership has fallen on hard times in evangelical churches…. Everything was leadership in the ‘80’s and ‘90’s, but now the pendulum has swung the other way”.
I believe that we are now experiencing a call to a revival of leadership. And not before time. In addition, might I say that hopefully we will see a revival in the mentoring of leaders, because leaders grow leaders. Courses and resources on leadership can be helpful, but only if they are taught by leaders. For academics grow academics and administrators grow administrators. We need experienced leaders to respond to the call to train up a new generation of leaders. We reproduce after our own kind and can only take people as far as we have gone ourselves.
The following is a selection of quotations from articles that have come to my attention in recent times on the subject of ‘Leadership: The Forgotten Key To Growing A Healthy Organisation’.
Leadership is not a position, or a title, or years of experience, or academic qualifications. Leadership is Influence. May the reading of this timely cluster of excerpts inspire you to rise up to model a life that will inspire a new generation of people to become great influences for the world in which they live.
“It all rises and falls on leadership.”
— John Maxwell
“I studied a large number of successful churches from a variety of denominations and found one consistent characteristic that was common to them all: It was leadership.”
— Rick Warren
“When Mike Dodson and I were researching and writing ‘Comeback Churches’ we wanted to find what factors led to Church Revitalisation. We expected to find Prayer, Preaching, Evangelism etc. We researched and we studied more than 320 churches. We called them and did multiple interviews with dozens of them. Do you know what we found? Everything rises and falls on leadership. The lack of leadership development is, in my view, one of the primary reasons churches plateau. Too many pastors are incapable (or unwilling) to identify and cultivate leaders within the church. They struggle mightily just to recruit workers. But, until pastors are able and willing to train leaders and leaders of leaders, the church will always stop growing at the furthest reaches of the pastors’ own ability to work.”
— Ed Stetzer, My Love Hate Relationship With Leadership
"I have served as a Church Consultant for more than fifteen years. The work has been steady, as few churches on the North American continent (or around the world, for that matter) are fully healthy. The weaknesses in most churches are several, including a lack of evangelism, a failure to disciple, a focus turned inward and a myriad of other issues. At the core of most concerns, however, is a singular pressing issue: a failure in leadership."
— Chuck Lawless, Paul's Missionary Methods
“An organisation, corporation, church ministry, market place business will grow to the size of the leader. I have seen churches that have been at 200 for years, people come and people go, but they will only grow to the size of the leaders. When an organisation does not grow, we often try to fix things somewhere else in the organisation. Now this might be needed, but we should always look first at the leader.”
— Sam Chand, Leadership Capacity
“Because of a mediocre culture, most churches retain just enough volunteers to keep things afloat. This has a serious and unintended consequence – high capacity leaders stay away. They simply don’t want to be part of poorly led teams. The result is that church leaders can’t find enough great leaders who can attract other capable leaders…”
— Carey Nieuwhof, Lasting Impact
“Most organisations are over trained and under developed. Training is about a task. Development is about a person. A lot of people are trained, but not developed. We train people but we don’t invest in people as persons, how they behave, their assumption of responsibility, their understanding of why they are there, what is their culture and their daily courtesies.Training is easy, development is difficult. Development requires mentoring and coaching (by a leader). There are people who can deliver on a job given to them, but in the process they run over people, they are rude to people and you as the leader have to follow after them and pick up the pieces. The problem is that they are over trained and under developed.”
— Sam Chand, Over Trained And Under Developed
“If climate drives business results, what drives climate? Roughly fifty to seventy percent of how employees perceive their organisations climate can be traced to the actions of one person: the leader. More than anyone else, the boss creates the conditions that directly determine people’s ability to work well.Our basic argument, in a nutshell, is that primal leadership operates at its best through emotionally intelligent leaders who create resonance. Indeed, interviews with two million employees at seven hundred American companies found that what determines how long employees stay – and how productive they are – is the quality of their relationship with their immediate boss.”
— Daniel Goleman, The New Leaders
“People join companies and leave managers.”
— Marcus Buckingham, The Gallup Organisation
“The pastor is the person who is the key to the growth of the local church. I have yet to see a growing church in which the pastor does not want the church to grow and is not willing to pay the price.”
— Peter Wagner, Your Church Can Be Healthy
“At the end of the day, however a vision statement is just a statement. It has no life of its own. It cannot, nor will it ever, energise, unify, or align an organisation . This task falls to the leader. A vision statement is only as strong as the leader is. Vision is only as clear as the leader is. Vision is only as compelling as a leader makes it. A vision is stewarded and sustained by a leader.”
— Shawn Lovejoy, Be Mean About Vision
“Follow me,” Jesus said to him, and Levi got up, left everything and followed him.
— Luke 5:27
This article was originally published here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/leadership-forgotten-key-growing-healthy-denton-rod
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rod Denton has served as a pastor and as a teacher in the development of emerging leaders in Australia and 9 different countries across Asia with Asian Access. He now serves as a consultant for Rod Denton Equipping The Next Generation. Rod also serves part time as the Mission's Resource Consultant with the Salvation Army. More information: www.roddentoneng.com.au
See also, Asian Access Faculty
Last year Asian Access made a pivotal and strategic shift. We changed the role of one of our vice presidents. Why?
The world is changing rapidly. The Global Church has shifted from West to East and from North to South and we have entered a new era of missional engagement. It is no longer from the West to the rest as many have pointed out. Rather, our world is completely changed and we live in an age of “From Everywhere to Everywhere”.
The era of colonialism is behind us or so it should be! Yes, there are still problems with the spirit of the colonization. But, it’s time for a new approach. Yes, many have pointed to the post-colonial reactions… But, it’s high time we moved to a decade of mutuality: where the best from every sector of the world can enhance one another.
That is why we have shifted the role of Mary Jo Wilson from a field leader in solely Japan, for which she still overseas our missionary efforts, to a role serving more globally, helping us engage with one another cross-culturally. Mary Jo, now our vice president for missional engagement, will be with me these next two weeks co-teaching in India.
Pray for us as we teach on Global Mission and seek to invest in the lives of our current cohorts in both the North and the South of India. We seek to encourage our friends as fellow co-laborers in Christ’s kingdom. I’m sure we’ll learn more from them than they will from us! It’ll be a fantastic few weeks together.
Pray too for us at Asian Access as we seek to move beyond the colonial and post-colonial eras of mission to a place of deep mutuality and partnership in mission! We hope to begin to build new East/West partnerships between churches in the West with churches across Asia. If this is of interest to you, write Mary Jo at email@example.com We’d love to be in touch from you and learn from you!
How do you see the future of mission engagement?
Lord of the pots and pans and things,
since I've no time to be
a saint by doing lovely things,
or watching late with thee,
or dreaming in the dawnlight,
or storming heaven's gates...
make me a saint by getting meals
and washing up the plates.
Thou who didst love to give men food
in room or by the sea,
accept this service that I do—
I do it unto thee.
— Brother Lawrence, Practicing the Presence of God
Several times while teaching for Asian Access, I am reminded of this quote by Brother Lawrence who reminds us of how we can always be in God’s presence, even in the most mundane tasks. As I head to India tomorrow, this rings true once again as the community there washes the dishes together after every meal. It’s their corporate way of reminding themselves that they are servant leaders as pastors, husbands, and fathers. This same practice happens across many of our countries.
I’ll never forget listening to my colleague from Cambodia tell me that all the wives came up to him in tears thanking him for Asian Access. They said, “We hate it when our husbands go to pastors conferences. They leave us home alone to manage the house and all the problems of the church come to us. But, things are different when they go to Asian Access. When they come home, they are washing the dishes, changing the diapers, and doing the laundry. Beyond this, they learn to raise up other leaders so all the church problems no longer come only to us.”
I noticed this picture on Facebook recently when one of our Sri Lankan students commented about one of our faculty members. It brought me back to washing dishes in India, Sri Lanka, Cambodia and Bangladesh. What a powerful reminder of the importance of serving first! And, as Brother Lawrence reminds us, these very acts are opportunities for us to grow even closer to Christ.
Jesus himself modeled this type of leadership for us. See his words below to his disciples.
Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. -John 13:14-17
Now, if I could only consistently live up to these values in my own home! I do well from time to time but too often I fall far short… May I practice your presence Jesus by modeling your leadership in my home and my life more often!
How about you? Do you practice what Jesus preached? Do you practice being in his presence as you serve no matter the task at hand? I’d love to hear your wisdom in this area of life… Do share!
firstname.lastname@example.org | @jwhandley
"Thank you everyone for praying for us this week we've been here in Jakarta, Indonesia for our Global Leaders Summit with Asian Access and it has been a fantastic week...
C.B. Samuel from India has been investing deeply in our lives, helping us grow stronger in Christ, grow stronger in community, and helping us as we build capacity of those leaders that we work with, so that we can be about investing those things in others' lives across the Asia.
Today folks are going home to twelve different countries, and I pray that you would pray for them as they go forth. You know a lot of them are facing things like persecution in their country; we've been praying for them this week. And we know that you're faithful to pray for them.
We're also grateful for your support. So thank you for walking with us this week. I know many of you have been praying for us, and we are deeply grateful.
Pray for us as we look to the year ahead. This is going to be Asian Access' 50th anniversary this next year. And so we're excited with what God has in store for us in this coming year, so keep us in your prayers and thank you for your support."
Joe Handley, President
Watch on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdP0YTzZI-g
I asked Yoshiya Hari, Assistant National Director of Asian Access Japan about his highlight from day 3 of the Global Leaders' Summit wrapping up in Jakarta. Yoshiya was honored to lead worship—the first time he's ever done so in English—today for the group of leaders from a dozen countries.
Yoshiya appreciated C.B. Samuel helping us to dig deeply into these three daily emphases:
He also mentioned other activities we all enjoyed, such as praying together (supporting one another in prayer) and playing together (zip-line, volleyball and soccer) as a community of brothers and sisters.
Finally, Yoshiya also thanked everyone for upholding Asian Access in their prayers during this summit. Watch this brief video clip.
Please be praying for this summit as it concludes tonight. We'll continue posting more updates in the coming weeks...
Joe Handley, President
Watch on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3dONVLJq4o
I sat with a long-time friend of Asian Access to ask what his highlight was from day 2 of the Global Leaders' Summit held in Jakarta. He was impressed with both the teaching on community earlier in the day and practicing it in the afternoon. "You don't only say it, you do it." Watch this brief video clip.
Please be praying for this conference as it wraps up on April 22. We'll continue posting updates...
Joe Handley, President
Watch on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=snGIV2-EkwA
I asked Sterling Miller, Asian Access Missional Partner in Japan for his highlight from day 1 of the Global Leaders' Summit, April 20, being held in Jakarta. Sterling also offered a unique way to pray for the Church in Asia. Watch this brief video clip.
Please be praying for this conference; we'll be posting updates throughout the week.
Joe Handley, President
Watch on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJsmQ6QjOdI