Philippines (MNN) — It takes a discerning crowd to recognize the needs of the Church in one nation. In the Philippines, church leaders are pulling together to advance the Gospel, and they’re asking Asian Access to help.
Joe Handley of Asian Access is excited to announce they are expanding their ministry into the Philippines. The need? Church leadership, church planting, and healing across the Body of Christ. God has uniquely equipped the ministry in these three areas.
Recent Church history in the Philippines
Handley says in the late 80’s there were only 7-8,000 churches nationwide. Church leaders set a goal of having 50,000 churches by 2000. They believed this would give every Filipino access to the Church. So they started praying and moving.
By 2001, there were 51,000 churches across the Philippines. And the Church kept growing — today there are around 65,000 churches.
But, Handley says the growth seems to have plateaued, and it’s no wonder. During an election a few years ago, a major disagreement arose surrounding elections.
Handley says “Half the majority churches in the country were on one side of that election; the other half were on another. And it caused a major rift between these two large movements of churches in the nation.”
But, God has started to bring reconciliation to the Filipino Church. And, the timing has been amazing.
“A few years ago, right as Asian Access was sensing maybe God would be calling us there, just as we were making our first trip into the country, those two movements actually came back together, reconciled, and said, ‘We need to be working together again.’”
God’s hand in guiding Asian Access
Through this process, Asian Access has been able to discern many things they can help the Church with.
First, they are skilled at bringing the Body of Christ together in Unity for the advancement of the Gospel. With these skills, they can help continue to heal the rift created.
Second, they can help the Church work towards their next goal.
“They want to now see 120,000 churches, almost double what they currently have, by the year 2020. That’s just here in four years.”
Asian Access works with church planting and can help them develop healthy strategies. The final thing they are able to assist with is leadership training.
Handley says sometimes church leadership education skips over important areas of leadership. For instance, it might be assumed that a pastor knows how to grow in his walk with Christ, and so there won’t be classes on how to keep a healthy relationship with the Lord while you’re leading others.
Neglecting the cultivation of faith of a leader leads to other issues. A big issue, Handley says, is character. Leaders might struggle with integrity or humility — things we all struggle with, but which are more obvious and damaging on a leadership level.
“The important aspects of character and walking with Christ and treating each other in respect and honor, those were not treated in these school systems.”
But here is another way Asian Access hopes to help.
“Those are the elements treated throughout Asian Access in a way that helps bolster the Church. It strengthens the life of a pastor, it strengthens his walk with God, it strengthens the life of his marriage and in his family, and from that strength, from that deep-rootedness in Christ, his character begins to change.”
With this, they’ll be able to lead more effectively.
In January the team will be meeting with about 30 leaders in the Philippines. It is the launch session for the work to be done there.
This is an exciting new venture, but there’s a lot of work to be done. Would you walk with Asian Access in prayer?
You can also support them here.