Asia (MNN) — On October 9 the baton of leadership for Asian Access was passed to new CEO, Joe Handley. Handley becomes the 4th president in the ministry's 40-year history.
Former Asian Access president Doug Birdsall stepped down on September 30, 2007 after 16 years as president to dedicate himself as Executive Chair of the Lausanne Committe for World Evangelization (LCWE), a position he has held since 2004.
Handley says his journey
to Asian Access began when a pastor friend asked, "Joe, where can you have the most kingdom
influence?" Handley responded, "That's really a God question."
But that question stayed the back
of his mind for months. A few months later, another friend said, "I have a theology of ‘uncomfortable.' You and I live in fairly comfortable
environments, and one of our jobs is to challenge our congregations to walk by
faith, and to step out in faith and be willing to be a little uncomfortable for
God." This was followed by a message from another pastor on "living by
Then, last fall, evangelist Luis
Bush encouraged him to investigate Asian Access because they were looking for a
new President. Following some investigation into their
mission, and prayer, Handley contacted them.
However, the search committee indicated
they were already in the final stages of choosing a candidate. Was it too late? Had he misunderstood the direction God was
Even as the doubts crept in, the
next day, outgoing president Doug Birdsall called Handley. "We're not sure where
the Lord is calling us for the future," he said to Handley. "I
was praying the other night, and I got this sense that maybe there's a missions
pastor that would be good at this job. And
the next day, I saw your resume, and that's why I'm calling you."
The fit with Asian Access is "hand in glove" with Handley's passion for raising up a new generation to
influence the world for Christ. "They had transitioned in their ministry
from various approaches to evangelism, to focusing on leadership development and
multiplying churches across Asia. God
has wired me and used me in ministry to come alongside of leaders around the
world and help facilitate the church-planting movement."
Handley says because the
foundation is solid, the way is clear to grow. "The Lord has taken us from Japan and taken us into eight
countries across Asia. Our vision is to
see a vibrant community of servant leaders with vision, character and
competence leading the church across Asia. But our dream is to be in 20."
It's a large undertaking, and one
that requires prayer. "It's kind of our
dream," says Handley, to respond to the
requests already received from believers on other continents, "for people
who are interested in coming alongside leaders, doing leadership development,
learning how to disciple others, and then multiplying others for the Great